In Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, amnesiac Maire has the magical ability to bake cakes infused with feelings. I thought normal cake already gave me all the feels — starts with happiness, ends with guilt – but we’re talking real emotions here. There are pastries and cookies and all sorts that can make you feel hope, love or just a little less alone. Sounds fantastic, I know.

When I saw how highly the members of Goodreads spoke of Charlie N. Homberg and her The Paper Magician series, I had to give her a try. Couldn’t stay out of the loop, could I?

Ugh. Turns out that yes, I could and should have. This was a diabolical read.

Cover for Magic Bitter, Magic SweetMagic Bitter, Magic Sweet works well as a standalone, purely because I couldn’t wait for the end. If it had finished on a cliffhanger, horror would have arisen inside me and my Kindle may have suffered a blow. But instead, it wraps itself up in a far-too neat little bow. It’s not an enjoyable ending, so for those of you who like to feel satisfied upon finishing a book — please stay away.

If you’ve read any article online about how to write a story, you’ll know that there’s always huge emphasis on the importance of the first chapter. And yet, I found it took quite a bit of effort to make my way through the first few pages of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. An abundance of vivid imagery is thrown our way, full of cakes and goodies and even more cakes. That’s great if you’re into descriptive paragraphs, but nothing of particular interest actually happens.

This is a love-it or hate-it introduction.

In case you didn’t get it, I hated it. Truly hated it. The thing was, the blurb made this story sound so enticing that I powered through (because apparently, I’m an idiot). After the tedious talk of cake, there’s slight excitement to be felt. There’s talk of bandits, a ghost, romance with a neighbour. But unfortunately once it begins to slow, it isn’t just slow. It’s constantly dragging and we are pulled through this bizarre, confusing parade of events where nothing makes sense.

This is potentially the most awful review I’ve ever found myself writing. The struggle is real, because I don’t know what else to say. Homberg has created a peculiar mess — and if that sounds in any way positive, it shouldn’t.

Just, don’t do it to yourself. You’re better than this.

(But if you want to get it, you can find Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet here.)

For more awful fantasy books, why not check out the Infinity Lost series?

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