'Maire', is Holmberg's gifted yet exquisitely confused heroine.
A baker of somewhat 'unusual' talents, Maire can infuse her edible creations with intent. Cakes to calm and strengthen and promote feelings of love.
Confections full of hope and serenity and 'charm'.
Maire uses her talents to support herself in her adopted home village of Carmine, selling delicious and uplifting pastries and cakes from a small shop in the centre of town.
There is some grit in the batter however, Maire cannot remember any of her life before being brought broken and bruised to Carmine; who is she and from where does her talent spring?
The plot twists begin early as Maire is kidnapped by slavers before being sold into a brutal and vicious life as slave to the disconcertingly odd Allemas.
Utterly disconnected from his humanity, Allemas uses Maire's talents for money. Forcing her to bake less savory ingredients into her creations. Cakes that once promoted hope now lure children into dark forests, biscuits that brought resilience to the down trodden now grant unending stamina to fellow slaves so they can be worked without pause.
'Magic Bitter Magic Sweet' unfolds like a dark fable; there is danger in gifts misused, peril in wanting more.
Holmberg's characteristic warmth persists in 'Magic Bitter Magic Sweet', even through the frequent plot detours into brutality and violence. Radiating still while the reader is left unsure of the motives of the protagonists and clueless who to trust.
So, no spoilers, I can literally say no more! Except of course this; I wholeheartedly recommend you sink your teeth into 'Magic Bitter Magic Sweet'.
My only further advice, bring a large slice of cake with you when you read!
As always; may your opportunities to read be many and your books be AWESOME!