eARC Book Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Goodreads Synopsis

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.


I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story focuses on Maire who is a baker, with a twist. She doesn’t know why but she can infuse emotions and abilities into the things she makes. If she focuses her thoughts on happiness while baking, the person who eat that treat will be so happy, they’ll forget why they were even sad in the first place.

Maire doesn’t know who she is nor where she came from. She was found on the side of the road one day and taken in as family. Every time she tries to remember who she is, she hits a block. After being taken in as a slave, Maire is forced to make cakes she hasn’t tried before, while all at the same time constantly planning her escape. Fyel comes to her, seemingly as a ghost at first and tries to help her by giving her clues as to how she can figure out who she used to be.

Characters: I think that Maire’s lack of memory made her timid. She was slightly insecure, which was understandable since she knew no one around her. She turned out to be a really strong character and I think her stubbornness is what really helped her in the end.

I loved Fyel’s name. He was very mysterious, and stayed that way for a great portion of the book. He gave clues that weren’t that hard to figure out but I understood Maire’s annoyance in why he couldn’t just tell her since he seemed to know so much.

Allemas was a strange character. He was scary at times but he could be…caring, in a way. There was no danger of Stockholm syndrome there though. I did really want to figure him out and I’m glad the author went deeper into his life as well.

Likes: I liked the magical aspect of this book and that random fairytales were thrown in. That was an added bonus for me. I loved the concept and thought that the author did a pretty good job in the execution.

Dislikes: While I didn’t dislike the book, it didn’t draw me in the way the synopsis did.

Overall Thoughts: This was a bad book and for the most part, I enjoyed it. I loved the writing style and a large portion of the book was fast paced. I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to reading more of this author’s work.

Read: 25 June 2016
Rating: ★★★

Publication Date: 28 June 2016
Publisher: 47North
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Charlie N. Holmberg

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