Cover Image: Boy of Chaotic Making

Boy of Chaotic Making

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Member Reviews

#BoyofChaoticMaking is book number 3 in the Whimbrel House series. As its predecessors, it does not disappoint. The entire book is like a big, cozy blanket that wraps you up in its warmth. The characters feel like home. I cannot wait for the 4th installment of this magically, enchanting, cozy series. I love that Owein gets such a big feature and the book has a lot of action, making it fast-paced and a quick read.

Thank you #NetGalley #47North and #CharlieNHolmberg for this free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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A solid third volume of the series, definitely better than the previous one.
This novel picks up the pace again, moving away from the constant emotional insecurities of volume 2, hopping straight into action and focusing on Owein.
The plot is not particularly difficult to untangle and it's unlikely you will be surprised, but that's not why we read the series, it's for its cozy feel. And it is very much full of homeliness, good feelings, and sweet characters.
I would recommend for people looking for a quick relaxing, romantic fantasy with a bit of action and historical ingredients thrown in.
The characters are a little flat for me, but they're definitely not abrasive and it's all nicely crafted. This will please the majority...

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The third installment of the Whimbrel House, _Boy of Chaotic Making_, follows Merritt, Hulda, and the current terrier Owein to England. The Queen learns of Owein’s magical powers, and hopes to secure a royal marriage in exchange for a human vessel for Owein. The magical world is expanded in this third book, with new characters with interesting backgrounds. I enjoyed this read!

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Another great story from Charlie N. Holmberg! I was so happy to revisit the characters from this series. It felt like meeting up with old friends. I loved reading about Owein and his POV. Hulda and Merritt’s relationship and flourishing love just makes sense and is so sweet but simple. I hope we get many more stories featuring these characters. Charlie N. Holmberg: you rock!

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The first third of the book was a little slow, but then I got caught back into the story. This is definitely the author’s most cozy/slow/chill series, but I’m not saying that is a bad thing. I enjoyed the setting of the book. It’s not my favorite magic system, but I can see how one more book with Owen and Cora could be a fun story.

Thank you to NetGalley and 47 North for this ARC.

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A charming, whimsical, and utterly compulsive read. This series is perfect for anyone looking to sink into a cozy fantasy. I love the characters and am always excited to see where they head off to next

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I received a temporary digital copy of Boy of Chaotic Making by Charlie M. Holmberg from NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

In the third installment of the Whimbrel House series, Merritt Fernsby, Hulda Larkin and Owein are asked to come to England by Queen Victoria, as she is interested in Owein and his magic. A powerful wizarding family is looking to secure their magical line by adding Owein to their family through marriage. If they are to secure a body that Owein could move into, he would marry their youngest daughter. However, after three near-death experiences at their guest's home, Merritt and Hulda are questioning their safety and if this is really the best choice for Owein.

I love a Holmberg novel. Every one I read is enjoyable, entertaining, well written and the world building is always on par; Boy of Chaotic Making checks all of those boxes. I will say of the three in the Whimbrel House series, this one is my least favorite, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and hope Holmberg has a fourth in the making!

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I love this series so much. It’s fun and thrilling. Holmberg always delights me with her stories so this one was of course no different. Merrit and Hilda might be my favorite characters in any series!

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Thank you NetGalley and 47North for the ARC!

Is there any compliment greater than when a reader's mind is spiraling with thoughts of the book they just finished?

In truth, I've been reading the Whimbrel House series from the beginning and yet I'm always surprised to learn there is another one coming out. This is not a bad thing, but I do feel like this is the type of series to not provide tidy answers wrapped in a bow. Whichever tome will be the final in the series will leave the reader with some unfinished business and a lingering desire to know more.

"Heir of Uncertain Magic" left me with a lot of questions and "Boy of Chaotic Making" only further intrigued me into this world of magic in the 1700's. It's truly impressive if you've read other works by Holmberg. They have created so many different worlds of magic, without them leaking into one another. What I love most is perhaps the odd cast of characters that only continue to build and develop on this series.

My one criticism is that Beth and Baptiste have earned more page time. There is so much that has been briefly touched on and I'm hoping to see some commentary as the two main POC in Holmberg's story. Added commentary around "Boy of Chaotic Making" is that this is arguably the first plot line I struggled to believe. There is a small thread of logic to follow based upon the laws of magic in this universe, but it doesn't immediately seem sensible and the story read with an underlying tone of malice. Part of me wonders if I've been conditioned to read the story this way give Hogwood's sinister behavior intermingled with the blossoming chosen family in book one?

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This is book #3 of the Whimbrel house series. I read and enjoyed #1 and #2 and I’m not sure this would work as a stand alone. It follows Merritt and Hulda’s romance (extremely clean) and primarily focuses on Owein, a human spirit trapped inside a dog. The novel takes them to London and entangles them with the royals of the period.

I enjoyed the book although I felt there were some pacing problems. Some of the stay in London dragged for me. I don’t find the trappings of royalty very interesting. The book ends on a teasing note so it would seem there is more to come, hopefully stateside. It’s a very chaste read, no foul language and the violence is cartoonish.

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This series just keeps getting better and better. I absolutely loved this book. While it's the 3rd in the series, and I finished the 2nd one quite a while ago, I felt like I was jumping back in after only a day away. From the very beginning, the story had me hooked and I didn't want to stop reading.

I love Hulda and Merritt and Olwein so much, and this world is one of my favorites. There was a point where my heart felt like it was racing right out of my chest because of all the action and suspense, and it had me ripping through the pages so I could see how it turned out. And I spent a good portion of the ending just crying happy tears because I was sharing in the characters absolute joy. The story lines that wound through here pulled at every heartstring and I haven't been able to read anything since.

Absolutely love everything about this book!

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As always, I love the characters of Whimbrel House. Owein is a special favorite and I'm glad to see him getting more time and interaction. I did feel that the middle of the book dragged a little and the "culprit" was actually fairly obvious and not at all nefarious. It definitely could have been shorter and perhaps combined with the (hopefully) inevitable next part of Owein's story. Overall, I definitely enjoy any time I get to spend a few days with the cast of this charming series and I hope there is a next time!

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I have really been enjoying the Whimbrel House series, and The Boy of Chaotic Making was just as fun as the others! Charlie Holmberg's imagination is just wild and wonderful, and the main characters of this book, Hulda and Merritt, are just so relatable and likable. Sometimes you read books where the hero and heroine are just way too good to be true. Too beautiful, too talented. Well Hulda and Merritt just give off normal people vibes, even as regards their magic! They have magic...but it is raw, untrained, and not extremely powerful. I just find it refreshing to read!

In this book Owein, whose soul has been trapped in the body of a dog, has been offered a chance to obtain a human body. But only if a contract is signed, agreeing that he will marry Cora. She is the daughter of a magical family, and they will go to great lengths to preserve and enhance their magical line. As Hulda and Merritt try to understand the agreement, find out the truth behind a string of magical attempts to harm them, and work through their own relationship, I was just completely cheering them on!

Love this series, this author's work, and this book in particular!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
I really like the Whimbrel House series. I read the first two earlier this year and I was so excited when I saw the third one on NetGalley. The first book is still my favorite but the sequels are also really good. I love the characters. Merit and Hulda are adorable together and I love their adventures. Owein is so precious and I'm so happy how everything turned out for him in this book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

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This book, and this series, is utterly beautiful.

Charlie Holmberg writes such wholesome, heartwarming relationships between her characters whether they be friends, family, or lovers. Your heart aches over their misfortunes and swells for their happiness.

I was so happy this book focused on Owein’s story because he’s such an endearing character, and I’m excited for his story to continue. Your heart breaks for him in the first book when you find out he’s a twelve-year-old boy turned house then you cheer for him in the second book as he gets to experience life again in corporeal form, and you hope so strongly for him that he will get to be a boy again with a voice of his own in Boy of Chaotic Making.

Whimbrel House is one of my absolute favorite found family stories. It’s a tender, moving story that has made me cry both happy and sad tears on many occasions.

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In a Nutshell: The third book of the Whimbrel House series. Won’t work as a standalone. I enjoyed the story to a great extent, but it doesn’t match up to the earlier two books. This volume felt quite relaxed and light in comparison to their darkness.

Story Synopsis: (Contains Spoilers about the first two books.)
1847, Ohio. Hulda Larkin, now the director of BIKER, is trying to sort out the mess left behind by the earlier director while also preparing for her upcoming nuptials with Merritt.
Merritt has just started feeling reassured that all dangers are behind him, when he receives a letter from the Queen of England, expressing her interest in his “dog” Owein. The Queen’s duty is to ensure that the royal lineage maintains its genetic dominance on magic, and she is sure that finding a human body for Owein’s spirit and marrying him into the royal family will work well for both parties. When the American duo lands in London, it is very clear that someone doesn’t want them around. However, with this being Owein’s only chance of lasting longer than his dog body will allow him to, he is determined to stay put, and Merritt is in no position to refuse.
The story comes to us through the limited third person perspective of Merritt, Hulda and Owein.

This is the third book of the Whimbrel House series, with the first two being Keeper of Enchanted Rooms
and Heir of Uncertain Magic. I adored the first book, loved the second book, and enjoyed the third book. The plot is sequential across the books, and hence this series is best read in order.

Bookish Yays:
😍 I must begin with my darling little Owein. While he was anyway the star of the first and the second books, I knew this book was going to be a gamechanger for his arc. I loved him and his track, and without revealing much, I can only say I am so happy the author heeded the stern warning from my review of the second book.

😍 Merritt is as amazing as in the earlier books. He knows what he wants, and he doesn’t fret about achieving it. He is the perfect rock to shoulder Hulda’s worries. Hulda has redeemed herself marvellously after her annoying uncertainties in the second book. Though still a workaholic, she has finally learnt to follow her heart and let go just a bit. I loved both of them, and their relationship, which is so organic and without any forced breakups or makeups.

😍 While this story doesn’t have as many humorous scenes as the first two books, there is still enough banter between Merritt and Hulda, and also between Merritt and Owein, to offer tiny moments of relaxation.

😍 A good sequel always stands on the shoulders of the earlier books and takes the subplots ahead without compromising on the earlier developments. This book does that perfectly. I love how the author never forcefully pushes in twists or changes her characters’ personalities in the sequels. They grow, rather than change, over the course of the series.

😍 Unlike the earlier two works, this one is quite fast-paced right from the start. I like how there wasn’t too much time spent on recounting the events of the earlier novels. Again, the mark of a good sequel.

😍 The British setting provides a pleasant change of venue, though I did miss Whimbrel House and Narragansett Bay. The Brit characters are typical of their status, thereby offering us some interesting comments about how seriously they protect their magical bloodline. Merritt’s interaction with the Brits, which is lacking in snooty etiquette, is fun to read.

😍 I loved the ending. It has everything I wanted for the characters, and it also showed me where the story might move next. Perfect! I can forgive *most* issues if a book leaves me with a smile on my face.

Bookish Mixed Bags:
😐 The pages go by quickly, but in terms of plot, there’s not much. Perhaps the purpose of this book was just to lay a foundation for the grand finale in the fourth book. (That is to say, I'm assuming the next is going to be the final book. I do hope the series isn't extended even further, though I love it so!) I wish there had been more meat to this story, though I did love the final quarter.

😐 It was nice to learn more about the magical houses and their history. Seeing elemental magic in action was also great. However, a new category of magicians has been added to the plot this time, and they somehow do not fit well into the core plot. Their appearance felt like a way of extending the book to novel length. Unless they have an important role to play in the next book, I’d rather not see them again.

😐 I would have loved to see more of Baptiste and Beth in the story, though I understand why their appearance was limited.

Bookish Nays:
😢 I'm really disappointed that the culprit’s identity was so evident. At least the earlier books offered some challenge in the mystery. This time, the secret is as clear as day. 💔

😢 While this story is relatively serious, it isn’t darker. The dangerous situations and the villains of the first and the second books had creeped me out. This one felt like reading a middle-grade fantasy in comparison (except for the romance, of course). I miss the creepiness of the earlier books.

All in all, I did enjoy this story a lot, but the first two books set such a high benchmark that this paled in comparison. This won’t be my favourite book of the series, though it offered me enough entertainment and even included two plot developments I had been awaiting since Book One.

I am a teeny bit upset that a fourth book has been planned in this series, something that was revealed just a few days ago by the author in her newsletter. I mean, I'm happy as well because I love these characters with all my heart, but I'm so eager to see the culmination of their stories without wrecking my TBR with add-ons.

I wonder whom Book Four, “Wizard of Most Wicked Ways”, will be centred on. After all, the first three book titles clearly indicate their central characters (Merritt, Hulda, and Owein respectively), but I can think of only one contender for this title, and I sure as heck don’t want to see *him* again! A long wait though, before this question will be answered. Fingers crossed until then!

Definitely recommended to all readers of historical fantasies, but to be read in the right series order so that you can enjoy the plot to the fullest.

4 stars.

My thanks to 47North and NetGalley for the DRC of “Boy of Chaotic Making”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

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3.7 Stars
One Liner: Entertaining enough but not as good as the previous two

Merritt and Hulda are all set to marry soon. Merritt is busy at the Whimbrel House, writing his next book. Hulda is now the head of BIKER. Owein is still a dog, having a nice time with Merritt, though he does wish for a better body.
When Merritt receives a letter from the Queen of England, showing interest in his ‘dog’, he has no real choice but to take Owein to England. The proposition they get is a dream come true. Merritt knows he cannot refuse. But all is not as it seems. Hulda’s premonitions about danger come true, and soon, they have to save themselves first and stay alive. However, Owein is determined to decide his future, come what may!
The story comes in the third-person POV of Hulda, Merritt, and Owein.

My Thoughts:
After enjoying books #1 and #2, I was quite excited (and waiting) for this one. It’s Owein’s story, after all! Oh, by the way, this is not a standalone. The series has to be read in order.
The narration is fast-paced, even if the plot is thin and padded with fluff. Some of it may make more sense in book #4, though it’ll be a long wait.
The different third-person POVs give a glimpse into the three main characters, which works well for the story. I like that the characters retain their core traits throughout all three books. There are surprise developments, too, which thankfully go with the flow.
What made the previous books stand out were the atmosphere and the darkness inching closer from the edges. However, this one is more like a cozy mystery (sans murders, of course) and milder until the climax. Even then, the drama doesn’t hit its peak.
I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and loved Hulda becoming more confident of herself (as a person. She is confident enough about her work). Also, we don’t get unnecessary conflicts between the lead couple. I like how the focus continues to be on Owein.
Owein is a darling. We cannot help but root for the poor boy. I like how the story ends, with HEA, but also enough intrigue about what’s to come. Hopefully, book #4 will also have more of Owein. He is the star of the series.
The mystery (if we can call it that) is quite bland despite the dangerous events and life-threatening incidents. The culprit is too easy to identify even without Hulda’s augury skills. However, the pages fly by, making the book seem a lot more entertaining.
There’s a small error, which will mostly be edited in the final copy. The publishing date is a long way away!

To summarize, Boy of Chaotic Making is a good continuation of the series and provides some forward movement to the story. Looking forward to book #4.
Thank you, NetGalley and 47North, for the eARC. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
More links to be added later.

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I am a big fan of the Whimbrel House series by Charlie N Holmberg. It is such a cozy, whimsical, and magical series that makes for a great comfort read. Boy of Chaotic Making continues the trend with new a POV, side characters, and location. I loved that we got to see Owein's take on events. Even as a house he had such personality and a tragic back story. His perspective was so well done in this. Owein and Hulda both had great character progressions and growth, much like Merritt had in the previous installment. And of course Hulda and Merritt continue to be adorable, I love their relationship and the support they provide each other. The new characters were fun and provided new challenges and friends for the og crew while they're in London. The epilogue once again points to another sequel and I look forward to continuing their story in the next!

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