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.
©2016 Charlie N. Holmberg (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet"
I guess it's a testament when you like an author's writing and a narrator's speaking enough to stick with a story that you really lost interest in halfway through. The premise I was intriguing and I love the Paper Magician series, so I thought this take on cooking emotions would be entertaining. A lot of the book was the main character overcoming enslavement and continuously being kept in the dark about her origins. I wish I could give this a better rating, but it just wasn't the story I was looking forward to by the end.
This story was very creative, however, it was also depressing. I almost didn't finish it because it seemed like there was no redeeming quality to it. I think it could have been more magical and less depressing. I would not re on end it.
This is a story about a woman who does not know her past. It is a fantasy set in a world that we do not know but has medieval overtures to it.
Maire is the heroine who has the gift of baking magic into her cakes and sweets. When maurauders attack the town she lives in she is sold to a man who is not quite right. She struggles to understand and to escape.
Kate Rudd is a wonderful voice artist - and gives life to this story.
what I liked: the writing is compelling and I had to read to the very end.
what I didn't like: there were elements that bothered me (this is my opinion only-very subjective others may not agree)- I didn't like what she ended up being- nor the connection to her "captor". this was a bittersweet story. I can't say more unless I give away key points.
I do recommend - especially for the writing. But im curious as to what others may think.
"A rich, beautiful story about love and redemption"
I've read (and enjoyed) all of Charlie Holmberg's currently published books, but Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet surpasses the rest. Though fairy tale allusions add to story, it is by no means just another retelling.
I spent the entire book in that pleasant state between uncertainty and anticipation. The author gives enough information to let the reader guess key points, yet not so much that the story (and its resolution) is predictable. It's a tough line to walk, but Charlie does this admirably.
The themes of love and redemption and the consequences of our actions add beautiful complexity. And the ending... it's one of those where you HOPE for a specific thing to happen, are fairly certain it won't happen, and then delight when it DOES happen. Wonderfully, wonderfully satisfying.
Unrelated to Charlie's writing skill: Kate Rudd was amazing. I'm hard to please regarding narrators; a good half I tolerate just to hear the book. But Kate's rich voice and reading style made a fantastic book even better.
I usually don't like these types of stories bit this was well written and narrated
The book was so slow and dull and the characters lacked any real personality, they felt dimensional. With this book being an example of the writing and narration reading style ...I will have to pass on reading anything else by Charlie N. Holmberg or read by Kate Rudd. It is not suited to my taste.
The story dragged. Wherever the story was trying to lead me to it couldn't get there fast enough. After 6 chapters I should have had an idea of where the story was going and all the other characters from Chapter one to the sixth seemed to be just making cameo appearances with the exception of the main character, Maire. That character spent way too much time with inner dialogue and not enough interaction between characters. I like my books to read like I was watching a movie or a play and not as if I was reading some whiny teenager writing in her diary.
The narrator spent most of the time in monotone measure and she needed to emote more. Even when the character was upset or in fear and pleading for help it sounded false and flat. I just couldn't believe the emotions that the narrator was attempting to convey.
None that I could see. If there were any I didn't stick around to find out. After six chapters I gave up. A book should hook you within the first two to three chapters and I went as far as six chapters and I still couldn't get caught up in it. I was bored and frustrated and so I cut my losses.
I'm just not the demographic for this book. I'm sure this will suit someone with more patients.
"Engaging, interesting, and uplifting."
You can't help loving this fable. The characters are so complete that I miss them when the book is over. Narration was amazing as always.
"sensitive and poignant"
a lovely and gripping mystery with a bittersweet ending of love, loss and transformational learning.
charming and careful painted characters, really hard to turn off
kate rudd treats these people with her delicate and careful nuanced performances.
charmed, read this one!
"Not what I expected"
This is an excellent listen, but also depressing. I am torn by this book. It is part fairytale, part fantasy.
I did not guess what was happening until the end. It is a delightful and terrible tale. It is heart wrenching - the desire to have but not to be able to
I had no idea what to expect. This did not disappoint. I am glad i listened.
The best thing I like about the story was the baking and it influencing emotion and thought. We all have foods that we love and hold memories for us. I loved the beginning of the book where she mentions why she bakes the inspirations that she does because she can give hope to an oppressed slave in the form of a petit four! What I really didn't like was the sci-fi that was mixed with fantasy. It just didn't work for me. I have really enjoyed Holmberg's work but I didn't like where she took this one.
It just didn't work for me. I have really enjoyed Holmberg's work but I didn't like where she took this one. She brought in so many elements that were not fleshed out or fully developed and thought through. Crafters, and gods and magic but it was all a tangled mess by the end and bizarre.
Kate Rudd did a fantastic job with the dramatics! Excellent work.
The one thing it did inspire me to do was to want to bake.
"unusual and brilliant"
A fairy tale for grown-ups. Magical tale which was unusual and refreshing. It led me to read some of Charlie's other books but this remains my favourite
Starts a bit slow, but picks up ans stays there. Itis also a bit predictable, but even so it is intresting and a good time.
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