Smoke and Summons

Smoke and Summons

by Charlie N. Holmberg


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A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781503905436
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 02/01/2019
Series: Numina Series , #1
Pages: 332
Sales rank: 619,628
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie N. Holmberg was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, owns too many pairs of glasses, and finally adopted a dog. Her fantasy Paper Magician Series, which includes The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician, has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company. Her stand-alone novel, Followed by Frost, was nominated for a 2016 RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at

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Smoke and Summons 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MinaTheFangirl 12 months ago
Wow, the world-building in this book is so unique and in depth. I've read other books before that had some aspect of spirits and possession in them, but Holmberg's twist to those concepts is so different than anything I have seen before and kept me turning the page. Can this be categorized as steampunk fantasy? Because it has that urban grungy tone to it, but also mixed with magic and spirits. Either way, it's such an interesting combination and made for a compelling world to delve into. I was actually really surprised by this, but Rone was actually my favorite character in this entire book. He's not the typical hero or love interest; he's not inherently kind, selfless, or heroic - these are traits Rone had to learn through his adventure with Sandis and even though I gaped at how awful his thought process were at times, I actually really loved it. It was so enjoyable to see all these layers to Rone's character, flaws and all because they made his development and story-arc even more satisfying. The magic system was so intriguing! It was fun learning about the numina - basically spiritual entities that live in another dimension and have varying levels of power, and can be controlled by being summoned into a vessel. Kazen, the main antagonist of the story, is absolutely terrifying and despicable but a very interesting villain. As much as I loved the world Holmberg has created, there was a lot of info-dumping that made me lose interest quite frequently. Right from the start when we start getting all this information shoved in our faces, I started slowing down and found myself unable to read smoothly and at my normal speed because I started getting confused and overwhelmed. I also feel that due to all the excessive info-dumping, this book started to lose its balance between world-building and plot. The plot it did have felt so surface-level and basic; I found myself left wanting more at the end, and not just because of the cliffhanger. I tried so hard to like Sandis's character, but just couldn't bring myself to. At best, I felt a bit sympathetic towards her situation and, at worst, she bored me to the point where I found myself skipping through her point-of-view. Often times it felt like she was just reacting to everything around her and didn't really have much agency, and that left me disappointed and dissatisfied. I wanted her to be one of my favorite characters but she was definitely not even close. Not as captivating as I had originally hoped to be, but I am really intrigued by the unique concept and setting. I also hope to like Sandis better in the upcoming books, and to find out more about the world. Let's just hope there's not as much info-dumping in the sequel now that the basics of the world has been established in the first book. I'm definitely going to be continuing this series! My Rating: 3.5 stars **I received an ARC from the publisher as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review, originally posted on My Fangirl Chronicles.**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overview: Charlie Holmberg’s newest creation, Smoke and Summons, brings us into a whole new world of a smog-filled, walled off city, filled with corruption and an all-seeing church. This is a civilization built on the bones of an ancient people that believed in magic and demons from the other plane. Not all of the magic is lost, however – people like Sandis’ master has learned to put the demons into the bodies of virginal vessels, and Rone has found an amulet that grants him one minute immortality. While nominally illegal, it does seem that the rampant corruption in the city allows for a lot more than the laws do. The Church has characterized the demons as abominations and the vessels condemned to death, but what is they are just misunderstood otherworldly beings that possess great power but do not mean harm on their own? As she gets to know her demon Ireth more, Sandis is not so sure… What I Liked The Worldbuild. Holmberg’s ability to create a whole new universe has always been the driving force of her books. The Magicians worldbuild was just as impressive. Here, she creates a claustrophobic city where the only escape is on the rooftops, in the sewers, or with a boatload of gold to get past the walls; a world where the air you breath chokes you, there are so many people that the bodies are pressed together in streets, and only the rich can get out of the grime. It is reminiscent of current-day New York City, with the old-time feeling of soupy London and edgy Venice. The Magic. Going hand-in-hand with the worldbuild, Holmberg has also brought us a new and interesting magical background – demons possessing vessels after being ripped from the astral plane, and ancient civilizations that harnessed the power regularly. The demons are wonderfully described, and it is crazy to picture little Sandis being transformed into the remarkable Ireth. What Didn’t Work The Characters. I am much more of a worldbuild-type reader (see above), but even I could see that Rone and Sandis are not particularly strong characters on their own. The villains are also cardboard and one-dimensional, but I am hoping this is due to first book syndrome. Overall, no one is really likable, which makes it hard to read at times. Sandis is often given to damsel in distress tropes, which is pretty ridiculous given her overwhelming powers with Ireth. She is used by everyone and remains naive, and is not given much agency. My favorite scene is one where she gets to fool Rone, and it is short-lived. Rone is weak also, being a typical male antihero that is torn between loyalties and “inexplicably” drawn to the heroine, who is of course ravishingly beautiful. He relies on a device for his “job” and does not show much growth throughout the book. The Pacing. Smoke and Summons suffers in that every other scene is Rone and Sandis running away from someone or something, to find themselves into another bad situation filled with action, after a brief respite finding themselves running again. It is stop and go, and the running gets old really quick. I can’t help but feel that Holmberg could have said so much more in the pages of this book, but lost steam in places. Conclusion Smoke and Summons brings you into a wonderfully dark new world that is begging to be explored. The characters are lacking, but I am still cautiously hopeful that they will blossom in the next couple of books, which seemed to happen in the Magicians series. Don’t discount it!
WishEnd More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars SMOKE AND SUMMONS is a fantasy with both sharp and soft edges. There is plenty of grit as these characters traverse the poor conditions of their world, as well as the dangers many face among different groups, like the mob, the corrupt police, and the demon-summoning grafters. Throw in characters who are easy to cheer on, a little romance, and a desperate fight for survival and you definitely have a perfect read for fantasy and dystopian YA readers. The author did a marvelous job of immersing me right from the beginning into this world and into the characters' lives. I love it when we, as readers, aren't dumped on with information and facts, or just told a story, but instead get to figure things out along with the characters and experience a story with them. It was so well handled and made the story that much more enjoyable. I loved these characters! Sandis was amazing. She was this great mix of strength, intelligence, and naivete. She's a little mother hen, but she so wanted to be loved and find her own family. Rone was also a great character. He's faced betrayal and clings to the mother he has, trying his best to make a life for the two of them. He was clever, talented - at least as a thief, and had a good heart (even though he didn't want to). Rone and Sandis together were interesting and sweet and I really enjoyed how their relationship developed. Then there was the plot... Goodness! This story had a constant feel of suspense and danger from beginning to end. I really liked that it was tempered with some sweet moments and some humor as well. There were also plenty of intense, scary moments. There were demons who posses individuals... I appreciated that there weren't really gory details. I also liked that there were parts where the author could have made things easier for these characters, or have things work out better, but she didn't. Nothing was easy. It made it feel more realistic and genuine. There were also some fabulous twists at the end. Book two can't come fast enough! In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed this story! It was a crazy, intense ride with fabulous characters and great storytelling. I'm happily looking forward to more! Content: Some mild swearing, non-descriptive mature references, innuendo, and violence. Source: I received a complimentary eARC through NetGalley from the publisher via the Fantastic Flying Book Club, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
Mind-of-Luxe More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club. I’m so excited to finally be able to share my thoughts about this book. This is the first I’ve read of the author’s works and I must say that I am impressed! The writing is spectacular and it kept me reading, more and more. Smoke & Summons was unlike anything I’ve read before. It has a unique plot, with our main character starting out as a vessel for summoning unearthly beings to do unspeakable acts at the command of her owner. Also, this book involves a rich background and history of both the main characters and the fantasy world itself. It is evident that this has been well-thought of and has been executed perfectly. Aside from that, I want to let you know that I’ve read this faster than I anticipated, despite my hectic school schedule. That’s how hooked I was. There definitely wasn’t a dull moment in this book, and it always kept me wanting more! If that isn’t enough, Sandis and Rone were very likable main characters. Sandis, having lived most of her life growing up isolated and underground, is still pretty shell-shocked about the life above ground. I love her so much, that precious human. She has gone through so much but she has been nothing but nice still. I sympathized with her throughout the whole book. On the other hand, Rone definitely knows his way around. He is strong, hard-willed and adaptable to different situations. This makes them such a great duo since their personalities clash. They make great teamwork and it’s funny seeing Rone crack a sarcastic remark to just go over Sandis’s head! Overall, Smoke & Summons was truly a fantastic read. For someone getting into YA fantasy (and even those who mainly read books in that genre), this is an amazing book, jam-packed with action and excitement that will surely get you going! I’m very much looking forward to read the next in the series and the author’s other works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book redefines gripping. It moved at breakneck pace for me and I was completely enthralled. The concept was very solid as was the plot but the writing and story were the highlight of this book. I cannot put into words how much I enjoyed reading this. There is suspense, deep character drama, and solid dialogue. I have no complaints with this book.