Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg REVIEW

Magic Bitter, Magic SweetMagic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg
Published by 47North
Published 28 June 2016
306 pages
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library

Author website


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 craft influential cake.


I really, really loved Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. I wasn’t expecting much – the title is sort of cheesy and the cover isn’t the best. I was completely blown away. The book is a lot fluffier than I usually read but it’s good to raise my head out of the blood and guts and dead bodies for a while and smell the lavender cake baking. Maire has amnesia for most of the book. I know this plot line has been done a million times but I never get tired of it. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet tugged my old heart-strings and I fell like a big sappy love-puppy. This is my first time reading this author and I wasn’t disappointed. There’s something gorgeous about her prose. I got sucked into Maire’s world. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet is the kind of book you read without having a clue what’s going on and where the story will read. I personally love those kinds of books. I despise predictability. If I know from fairy early on what garden path I’m being led down it puts me off. I had no idea where this book was leading me. I was happy to be dragged along. The most enjoyable sections of the novel are when Maire is being held prisoner and made to bake sinister things with her strange gift. I loved the references to Hansel and Gretel and the Gingerbread Man. I enjoyed the way the author gradually revealed what Maire really was and what her link was to the man who imprisoned her. I’ve read some reviews on Good Reads with people complaining the truth wasn’t revealed until the very end. Hmm, excuse me, isn’t that the point of a book? If you know what’s going on by page 50 why read the other 250 pages? I was pleasantly surprised by Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. Now excuse me while I go and unearth a dark shape over there that looks like a dead body. I’ll just trot along this trail of bloody footprints.




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