A bewitched prison. A brother with a deadly request. Can a magical baker launch a jailbreak and still keep her prince in the process?
Imogen’s magical bakery is thriving and she loves the company of the Water Kingdom’s dashing prince. But she’s not so enamored with the time she’s forced to spend with his awful Royal Family. She also can’t help but worry that the increased media scrutiny could reveal her secret contact with the Royal Family’s sworn enemy: her own brother.
When her sibling shows up and demands Imogen spring his cronies out of jail, she flat out refuses. But when he threatens to hurt the ones she loves the most, she balances her allegiance to the prince with her plan for a covert prison break. Can Imogen keep up family appearances and avoid betraying the kingdom or will her pie-in-the-sky scheme become a recipe for disaster?
Airships, Crypts & Chocolate Chips is the sixth standalone book in a clever paranormal cozy mystery series. If you like crafty witches, charming romances, and fabulous French settings, then you’ll love Erin Johnson’s enchanting adventure.
Another enchanting Spells and Caramels mystery that will delight your senses and grip your heart. Seriously. I’m not being dramatic. This book grabbed my attention like no other Cozy Mystery before. My heart was actually pounding while reading the jailbreak chapters; and I had busy butterflies fluttering in my stomach throughout the big reveal at the end. Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips is cozy excitement at its best.
World-Building: Erin takes us to another new location in this 6th story, the Air Kingdom. With its pretty royal colours of white and silver, islands hovering in the clouds and held together by rope bridges and twinkling lights of airships against a night sky, the world of the Air Kingdom provides a beautiful backdrop to the story and is very distinct from each of the kingdoms we visited before.
The Carclaustra Prison in brilliantly defined and described as well. The protection mechanisms described by the author are clever and imaginative. I even began imagining a grand Harry Potter Gringot’s style escape!
The theme of friendship is very important to this story. Imogen must confess to her friends her dealings with her brother. Their loyalty to her is delightful to watch play out (although she is a wee bit dramatic in expecting their condemnation). Hank’s friendship with his old mentor gets a central focus. Even Horace seems affected by the binds of friendship- although we are left to wonder at his sincerity.
Where Book 5 explored Imogen’s feelings about her relationships with Hank and Horace, this one brings Hank into the spotlight. We see that the darling Prince has had his own difficult battles to fight and is still fighting a past he doesn’t quite understand. His character is more fully developed in this story, through revelations of the past and his interactions with his family.
The Mystery itself: Again, I’ll point out that this is a series best read in order. The body discovered at the opening of the story plays into the big reveal at the end but parts of that story have been building up since earlier books. I would say the big conundrum of this book is the ‘prison break’. The ‘how and why’ is a great tale!
There are many puzzle pieces to fit together. You’ll find those pieces in this book and in earlier ones as well. The hunt for the pieces is worth it as they fit together brilliantly!
Things I loved in this novel:
Love, love, love the tension created in the big reveal scene. While some revelations I was expecting there were still several plot twists and turns that were wonderful surprises. Erin didn’t just hide it all from the readers to save it up for this. She laid a trail of breadcrumbs up to this moment and delivered the story well.
The conflict between Imogen and Horace continues. Is he bad? Is he actually a good guy?
Poker. This is the second book where the author lays out some really intricate magical cheating techniques for the game. I don’t think I’d want to risk taking Erin on in a game.
Annie goes undercover as a Duchess!
Watching Hank’s inner struggles and then seeing him face the ultimate ‘big decision’.
Heavier issues of gambling addiction and lost parental relationships touched on with just enough depth to make it real but not too much to change the cozy tone.
This story gave me the FEELS!
Something I maybe didn’t like:
If anything the “I’ve got a secret and I’m too afraid to tell you and look- every time I want to tell you, something disturbs us” trope is not my favourite but there is just too much more that I love about this book and series!
I have loved this story from the very first chapter of the very first book, but I honestly think the writing gets stronger with each novel and the tale is spun across the series expertly. I strongly recommend this series and that you read the books in order.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the author. All opinions expressed are my own.
Here are my reviews of the other books in the Spells and Caramels series:
I give Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips 5/5 magically charged espresso shots!