Cover Image: Boy of Chaotic Making

Boy of Chaotic Making

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Charlie N Homberg’s Boy of Chaotic Making is the third book in the Whimbrel House series, and so this review will contain spoilers for the first two books: Keeper of Enchanted Rooms, and Heir of Uncertain Magic.
Boy of Chaotic Making is where we finally come to Owein’s story. After having his two-hundred-year-old soul yanked out of the house he grew up in and shoved into a terrier at the end of Keeper of Enchanted Rooms, Owein is naturally dealing with some issues. He’s sharing a small dog’s body with at least part of the dog’s soul, he is only able to communicate with the people around him through Merritt, and now he’s being summoned over the Atlantic by Queen Victoria.
At the same time, Hulda has inherited control of BIKER and is trying to deal with the mess that Myra left behind, while Merritt is doing an average job of just being along for the ride.
For a book that is supposed to be all about Owein, this story does him dirty. He travels all the way across the Atlantic and is offered a new human body and a title in exchange for breeding with the British upper class. This presents a perfect opportunity to discuss the rampant eugenics that has been brought up in each of the first two books, and yet instead all we get is a shallow scratch at the door. Specifically, Owein scratching at Hulda and Merritt’s door while they stay locked inside make the decisions for him.
This book fails to give Owein the voice he deserves. Merritt is the main way that Owein communicates with others and he actively censors what Owein says to him, sometimes dismissing what he says altogether. When Owein tries to use his spelling board he is spoken over and interrupted. It’s no wonder that Owein is as desperate for a voice and a body of his own as he is.
While the ethics of finding Owein a body is discussed in depth, Owein is rarely included in these conversations. When this issue comes to its conclusion, the result is unbelievably convenient and dealt with almost flippantly.
This was a book that had ample opportunity to explore character growth in new directions for all three of our protagonists, but instead we were given rehashed versions from the previous two books and a complete lack of agency for the titular character. The latter could be excused if there was some kind of discussion around this lack of agency, but there was none.
Ultimately, this story dropped some breadcrumbs for what to expect in book number four, but left me with many, many questions and a deeply unsatisfactory ending. This series is on a path to an alarming place where eugenics and the purification of bloodlines appears to be glorified, and I don’t think I want to be there when it arrives.

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A boy like no other embarks on a transformative journey of magic and self-discovery in the next enchanting Whimbrel House novel by Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg. In just one sitting, you will become a pages turner. Interesting and enjoyable read.

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I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher for not only giving me this book, but introducing me to this entire series and Charlie Holmberg! I am now a forever fan! I’ve read each book and this one might be my favorite! Well written and quick paced, it’s hard to put down once you get started! I assume this isn’t the end well hear from the Larkin/Fernsby gang and I can’t wait to read more!

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Once there was a dog who'd been a house who'd been a boy. Owein could remember that. He was now a mixed terrier breed dog. He communicated with his many greats nephew via magic. Merritt Fernsby loved Owein (his many greats uncle). And he enjoyed talking with him, but one of the consequences of doing so was a temporary loss of his voice depending on how long they'd been talking.
Hulda Larkin, Merritt's fiancee, loved Owein too. So it was the three of them, after discussion, who decided to see exactly what the Queen of England had in mind when she said she was interested in Owein. And especially what she had in mind when she said that they could find Owein a human body and transfer him into it and marry him into the royal family. Merritt and Owein travel to London to find out exactly what the deal is. Adventure ensues.

The characters in the book are well done, especially Merritt, Owein, and Hulda.I liked them for who they were on the page and for the way they interact with one another.

The world building is consistent with the first two books in the Whimbrel House series. I like that for every kind of magic used there is a natural sort of reaction. For example, Merritt's voice is affected when he converses mentally with Owein.

In general, the plotting and writing is well done. It's better to have read the first two books before you read this one. The story moves along at a good pace. And I was a little surprised at the culprit in the mystery.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It's well written and entertaining. If you like historic fantasy set in a slightly different world from ours, then you would most likely enjoy this book and series. It appears there is a book 4 on the horizon. I look forward to it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This did not affect my opinions or review.

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This is the 3rd in the Whimbrel House series. Hulda is adjusting to her new position with BIKER while she and Merritt grow closer and planning their future together when they are approached by a representative of Queen Victoria interested in bolstering the magic bloodlines by offering Owein (currently inhabiting a dog) a transference of his soul back to a human in return for an arranged marriage with a girl in the magical Royal bloodline. Hulda and Merritt are intrigued, yet a bit queasy at the prospect, but Owein is thrilled, so the three of them travel to England to see what's what and carrying a few of their own demands. Once there they meet the family and set about their business, but mysterious accidents arise seeming aimed at Merritt. And the game's afoot.
This has the same wonderful characters and many new and intriguing ones. The plot is much more linear than that of the last book, and builds steadily toward a well realized climax. There is steady growth in the main three characters and their relationships, and it all makes for a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommended.

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Absolutely nothing happening in this part of the series. The whole book seems to be written for the purpose of affirming that X and Y characters finally got together in a happily ever after and Z character got what he wanted the most in the world, with little to no obstacles. I understand not having plot twists, but this story forgot to have *any* plot intricacies whatsoever.

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Merritt Fernsby and Hulda Larkin have set a marriage date. Owein who had haunted the Whimbrel House and had his soul put in a dog, is basically happy until an offer comes from Queen Victoria. His soul can be transferred to a human if he agrees to marry into English nobility when the new body is of age. According to Charlie N. Holmberg, that’s when things start going wrong with roofs collapsing and other attacks. Someone doesn’t want Owein to be a Boy of Chaotic Making (paper from 47North). Fun, and maybe the end of the trilogy.

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I liked this book so much I had a very hard time deciding quite what to say about it.

The magic system is beautifully detailed. The heart of the story, deciding who is human and who isn't, who can speak and who must remain silent--Holmberg could have spent the entire book here, and I would have been entirely absorbed.

But it's also a romance, with a very wholesome couple. It's alternate history, with a much better explanation for arranged marriages among nobility than history itself gives us. It's a "whodunit," as Owein and Merritt try not to get murdered (again).

It's my first adventure in the Whimbrel House series, but it's a world I hope to return to again! Three cheers for Holmberg and her peculiar, wonderful story.

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A Boy of Chaotic Making starts back up where we left off and dives deeper into Owein’s story. It was a magical and adventurous fantasy that transports you into another world! It will keep you engaged and on your toes the entire time, but with the heartwarming charm of the Whimbrel House series. I definitely recommend reading the first 2 books in the series before reading this. A good choice for someone in need of an exciting fantasy read!

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The third installment in the Whimbrel House series, this book is just as magical as the first two in the series. We continue the story of Hulda, Merritt and Owein as they journey across the pond and introduce us to new characters and a new mysteries. What is in store for Owein after the royal family's offer? Who is trying to sabotage our leading trio? Who's the naked woman with Merritt in Hulda's vision? Some of these questions have answers in in this book, but for others, we will just have to wait patiently for the fourth installment, which is sure to be as enthralling as the first three.

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This one was very exciting, and very funny. Merritt and Hulda are navigating an enticing offer from the Queen herself! They travel with Owein to visit with the family wanting to bring Owein into their lineage, and as they figure out the particulars, there are multiple attacks against Merritt.

Hulda gets to learn more about her magic and making it more precise, and Merritt meets some Druids who wish to take him under their wing. Both of them are propositioned, and both need to decide how to move forward.

Owein is excited at the prospect of being in a human body again and is trying to figure out how best to get to know the girl he's supposedly going to be betrothed to, which isn't as easy as it sounds with him being a dog.

There were some moments that I just laughed out loud at, and we finally find out why Baptiste was imprisoned!

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I was under the impression that the Whimbrel House series was just going to be a trilogy so I dove into this book, eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this amazing series. I found out shortly after starting Boy of Chaotic Making that there were to be even more books in the series! I was so excited to discover this and read even more voraciously because of it. I love reading more from Owein’s point of view, even as Hulda and Merritt’s wedding approaches. I feel like he really gains a solid personality and experiences real growth for the first time. While there is real danger in this novel, there is more character growth than in previous books. The first two books in the series were more Merritt and Hulda centric; it’s Owein’s turn now!

The plot takes a little break for Boy of Chaotic Making, in comparison to the first two books in the series. We get introduced to many new characters and delve a little deeper into Merritt’s magic. Hulda also gets the chance to deepen her understanding of her augury powers. I love how, as Hulda learns to use her augury, she becomes more confident in herself and her relationship with Merritt. She finally feels desirable and deserving of love, for the first time in her life. But mostly it’s about Owein and his trauma, as well as what it means to be a human trapped in a dog’s body, as well as what it means to be over two hundred years old but still feel like a child in so many ways. Owein never got a chance to grow up, alone as he was in a house. He never had constant companionship and it wasn’t until Merritt and Hulda came along that he finally got to communicate with people once more.

The lack of a villain limited the plot potential. I looked at every character with suspicion, thinking, ah yes, this is the new villain. Nope. Oh wait, it’s this guy. No…In the end, the villain was an obvious one, one that I had discounted because it was so obvious. I’m wondering if this book is just setting up an epic next book in the series, a filler book to help move the plot along, perhaps. I’m not unhappy with it being a filler book and in fact found the book to be an easy read, comfortable and quick to read while I was traveling this past week.

I very much look forward to the next book and highly recommend this book and series to anyone wanting a cozy, sometimes dark, magical mystery series. The cover art is what drew me into the series and I’m sure other people are wondering if you should judge these books by their covers. The answer is, yes, you should! The story is even more beautiful than the covers.

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I read the first two books in the Whimbrel House series last year and had no issues remembering what happened in the second book. There were enough subtle reminders that I didn't feel lost. Boy of Chaotic Making is definitely not a standalone.
This series is basically the epitome of cozy fantasy. It's set in our world (albeit in the mid-1800s) with a blood or genetic based magic system. There is a romance, but it is entirely closed door and the language is such that it would be appropriate for a younger audience (I don't recall any swearing either). Out of the three, the first one (Keeper of Enchanted Rooms) is definitely my favorite, but Boy of Chaotic Making is a nice wrap-up.

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I loved the Boy of Chaotic Making and the entire series and was so sorry to see it end. This series was my first books by Charlie Holmberg as well as my first fantasy novel in many years. Now I know what I’ve been missing! I absolutely adored the entire Whimbrel House series — the story, characters and relationships. Now I want to read everything ever written by Charlie Holmberg!

When I finished the book, I could see where there might be a fourth book in the series but I’ve been unable to find any confirmation anywhere so if there is another book I would be thrilled but if not, I’m ok with that.

Hulda and Merritt were wonderful characters and their relationship was very special. But of course the standout for me was Owein , whose many transformations added an usual and fascinating angle to the story.

The writing was excellent, the characters were exceptional and their relationships were deep. I loved the way Owein and Merritt were able to communicate without speaking.

I highly recommend the series and I look forward to more from Charlie Holmberg.

Thank you to 47 North and NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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After falling in love with the Whimbrel House squad last year, Boy of Chaotic Making was HIGH on my anticipated reads list, and I'm happy to report that I loved it so 👏 much 👏

The series is just so FOR ME, I adore it. Historical fantasy + found family + soft magic systems + a pretty writing style? it's perfect. This installment did not disappoint, building on questions posed in the earlier books, and taking our cast on a transatlantic adventure. The stakes were high enough to keep me riveted, but not too high to where I was stressed out the whole time, lol! There were so many wholesome moments building the relationships between these characters, I love them SO MUCH. I already can't wait to see where their stories take them next. 5 stars from me, for sure!

*content warnings for mild language and some innuendo, and 1 fade-to-black scene between a married couple.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.**

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I did not want this book to be over!
I have loved and enjoyed every moment of this entire series. Charlie Holmberg's world of magic is original and engaging. I adore Owein and his child-like spirit, despite actually being an old man. I also adore stories about the family we choose, and love the family created by Hulda, Merritt, Owein, Beth and Baptiste.
This installment sees Hulda, Merritt and Owein traveling across the pond, making acquaintances in high places, and finding themselves at the center of a deadly plot.
While trying to unravel the mystery of who wants them out of London before Owein can get a body, Holmberg's characters continue to wrestle their own personal demons. Hulda must reconcile her independent spirit and career-driven life with the idea of also being a wife. She knows above all else she wants to do life with Merritt by her side, but her careful nature leaves her struggling with the "how" of being married while being in charge of BIKER.
Faced with the chance for a human body after so many long years leaves Owein struggling with growing up. For decades, without a body to age and change, Owein has been suspended in a child-like state. Though he has the years of experience of someone much older, he has missed the critical years of finding himself and growing up. Owein is determined to prove to everyone around him that he is already capable of taking care of himself. For the prospect of a body, Owein is ready to be whatever age that may mean, and straining at the leash to be his own person.
Merritt's biggest struggle is how to let Owein go. His head tells him Owein is older than anyone in the family but his heart has held Owein for so long as a child - a child in a helpless dog's body. Merritt has been the surrogate father for Owein for so long, it's difficult for him to contemplate any other dynamic.
The struggle of all Holmberg's characters as they teeter on the edge of life-changing events is so real and vulnerable. But their makeshift family is strong enough to see them through anything, no matter what.

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I liked this one but it wasn't my favorite of the series.

I found the other ones more atmospheric and with more tension than this one. This one dragged on at times for me. I wasn't in as big of a rush to pick up back up as I did with the other two. I think this could've been a novella or even an epilogue since there was so much that I don't feel added to the story.

I will still continue to read everything that this author writes as I enjoy the magic systems and overall stories, but this one was just meh.

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The Boy Of Chaotic Making by Charlie N. Holmberg is the 3rd book in the Whimbrel House series. These books are magical realism which is a genre I don’t normally read much of. There is so much magic involved that I therefore think it takes me longer to read them because I really have to use my imagination to picture everything that the author is putting into words. This 3rd book mainly centers around Owein. He was a distant uncle to Merritt from way back. In the first book, he was trapped inside the walls of Wimbrel House and that was fun to read how he would act out and show his playful side. Then in the 2nd book he was transfixed into the body of a terrier dog by a really horrible man. It’s in this book that during a trip to England, he is finally put back into the body of a young boy. The highlight of this story for me was the wedding between Hulda and Merritt. It was something that I was anticipating and the fact that all of Merritt’s family came together made it even more special. I did feel like this 3rd book was a little slower going for me, I even took a break from reading it and went on and read another. But I’m glad that I went back to it and finished it so I could read about the nuptials and see how everything played out in the end. I’d like to thank NetGalley for the arc that I obtained off the Read Now section. Although I favored the first two books in the series, I’m glad I read this and I’m giving it a 4 star rating for the authors wonderful, imaginative writing!

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Thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing, and 47North for this copy of "Boy of Chaotic Making" which is the third book in the Whimbrel House series.

I was so fortunate to read the first three books back-to-back, especially as each book starts almost immediately where the previous one ended.

The series is charming, delightful, funny and magical with characters that warm your heart and feel like friends.

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I love this series and look forward to each new offering.

In Boy of Chaotic Making, we again find ourselves at Whimbrel House with Merritt and Hulda now planning their wedding while Owein is still inhabiting the body of a dog. Plans quickly change as the trio are presented with the offer of a lifetime - from the Queen of England, no less! It may be possible to transfer Owein from the dog into a human. But there will be a price.

This book is more lighthearted than the previous two. It had the perfect mix of fantasy, romance, and intrigue. I am looking forward to the next installment, I need to know that all will be well with characters I have come to love.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. All opinions are my own.

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