I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Title: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: Ebook, 306 pages
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Buy links: Book depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Link to Goodreads
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.
Happy book-birthday to Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet! In honor, here’s my review.
Diving into this book, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. Magical baked goods? Cool! I liked the synopsis and that’s why I basically started this book. It was something new, something I hadn’t read yet and it was so worth it.
Maire, the female protagonist, can infuse anything she bakes with emotions and abilities. She doesn’t know why she is able to do this or where she even came from. When one day her town gets raided by marauders, she gets visited by Fyel, a ghostly being. Together with him, she slowly discovers her past and where she came from and even more important, who she is. Slowly she pieces everything back together and starts to understand.
I did not understand the beginning and was kind of brought of guard. I had no idea what it was about. Seriously. But that didn’t stop me. I went on! I wanted to know more. Everything makes so much sense later on. I was like: OMG, THAT’S WHY! For real.
This book surprised me. The world is beautifully crafted and the story has some heavy topics. The story had to go dark in order for it to get light again. Alongside Maire, we had to reach rock bottom.
Compliments to Charlie N. Holmberg for writing such a wonderful, deeply complex story. So unbelievably creative!
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet pulls you in and won’t let you go. It’s sweet and bitter and full of magic, so the title fits perfectly.
About the author
Charlie Nicholes Holmberg was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to two parents who sacrificed a great deal to give their very lazy daughter a good education. As a result, Charlie learned to hate uniforms, memorized all English prepositions in alphabetical order, and mastered the art of Reed-Kellogg diagramming a sentence at age seven. She entered several writing contests in her elementary years and never placed.
Being a nerd, Charlie started writing fan-fiction as a teenager in between episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She became a full-fledged band geek with mediocre talent in high school, where she met her husband. While she strove to win his attention by baking him cookies and throwing ramen noodles at his house, he didn’t actually ask her out until six years later.
Charlie began taking writing seriously during her undergrad at Brigham Young University, where she majored in English and minored in editing. She finally won a few writing contests. She graduated with her BA in 2010 and got hitched three months later. Shortly afterwards, her darling husband dragged her to Moscow, Idaho, where he subsequently impregnated her.
In summer 2013, after collecting many rejection letters and making a quilt out of them, Charlie sold her ninth novel, The Paper Magician, and its sequel to 47North with the help of her wonderful agent, Marlene Stringer. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Someday she will own a dog.
(Did she mention her third book, The Master Magician, totally made the WSJ bestseller list? Because it totally made the WSJ bestseller list.)