Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg -- Review

Monday, September 12, 2016

Title: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Pages: 306
Publisher: 47North (June 28, 2016)
ISBN: 1503935604
Summary: 
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.

Review:

I went into Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet with pretty high expectations. I love Holmberg's other books, so I picked this one up rather blindly without even truly knowing the plot. I knew magic and cake were involved, so it seemed like a win-win to me. Unfortunately, it left a good bit to be desired. 

I thought I enjoyed the book as a whole, but when I looked back and tried to pick it apart... I realized I actually didn't like it that much. The main character is a little odd, and the plot is confusing and flat. Maire, the main character, does not remember her past. She is kidnapped and forced to build cake houses and cake children, but that is kind of where the plot ends. The book felt very drawn out in certain places and then it felt very rushed in others. I couldn't quite get a hold of the point of the story. 

Now, it's not all bad. Holmberg's creative writing is gorgeous, as always. It has a fairytale feel to it and the imagery of all cakes and sweets Maire creates will leave you drooling over the pages. Holmberg totally kills it with her creativity and gorgeous words, but the story as a whole didn't hit the mark. 

Overall the story was beautifully written, but it just didn't pull me in like I wanted it to. It is not high on my recommendation list, but if you enjoy Holmberg's other stories, you should at least give it a shot. 

Rating: 3/5

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