Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N Holmberg

“The first bit of honey taffy melted in my mouth.”

Maire has an amazing ability: she can infuse her baking with emotions and aptitudes, passed on to whoever eats her treats. She doesn’t know why or how – but then, she doesn’t remember who she is or where she’s from, either.

This book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be – the description of the baker imbuing her cakes with feelings put me in mind of Sarah Addison Allen, so I was half-thinking it’d be magical realism, rather than full fantasy – surprise the first. Then I reached the scene with the request to bake an enlargement cake, labelled ‘Eat Me’, followed by a house made out of gingerbread…

Well, colour me intrigued! I fairly wolfed this book down, like one of Maire’s best bits of baking. The mysteries piled up: the ghostly angel-like figure, the brutish yet almost child-like man demanding Maire fulfills these strange orders. Can she escape? Will she – and we! – discover who she really is and where these strange gifts come from?

I’d love to say I continued to adore this book – it does have the feel of a book that should and indeed could  be adored. Alas, while a lovely read, it just didn’t quite satisfy me. Those little fairy tale bits fizzle out and don’t quite live up to potential, and while I did like the ending it didn’t quite pack the ‘oomph’ I expected from the earlier build up.

Still, very glad I read it, and I’d be tempted to sample another of the author’s work next time I feel in need of a sweet little nibble of a read 🙂

NetGalley eArc: 306 pages / 29 chapters
First published: 2016
Series: none
Read from 5th- 9th June 2016

My rating: 6.5/10

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