Smoke and Summons – What if the Demon is on Your Side?

Smoke and Summons

Numina Trilogy

By Charlie Holmberg

Spoiler Alert!




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…
(Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

I was curious to see where Holmberg would go after The Paper Magician. In Smoke and Summons, she has spun a whole new story set in a Russia-like country, oppressed, impoverished, and deeply religious. It may seem odd, but one of my favorite things about this book is how one civilization was built upon another. The old religion has been nearly erased by the new, but there is still power in the old beliefs.

Yes, we know Rone was a jerk – and could have guessed it from the beginning. Even so, I liked him because he is charming and working through the ‘dark soul of the night’ through his character arc. Sandis is somewhat like the beaten puppy that you can’t help but love. There are a couple of favorite moments I had with her – one was when she saves herself when bound (it’s terribly dramatic and I don’t want to give you all the details, but it’s enough to say she nearly drowned) and the other is when she is fed up with Rone and walks away from him. She moves from a state of innocence, even though the wicked have done terrible things to her through the summoning, to a girl jaded when her hopes were betrayed.

By the end of the novel, I felt satisfied and then realized there are so many questions raised that aren’t answered. For example – what’s going to happen with the artifact? Are there more? Why would Sandis confront her uncle? What happens if a summoned demon from the old religion is lost? How will Rone’s father play into the next book? Is it even safe if one leaves this country? Friends might be found in the oddest of places. What if the demon was actually on your side, but you lost him? Would you want to foster that friendship again? Even if it caused pain?

Do you see why you’ll need the next book? However, you’re in luck because it’s already out! I enjoyed this book. It is a little dark and poses great questions about moral ethics. It is perfect for older teens.

5 out of 5 stars

5 star

  • Michelle


If you love Charlie Holmberb, check out Patrick W. Carr and his novella By Divine Right, the prequel to his Darkwater Saga. I love his beautifully broken characters and you will get sucked into the mystery of solving what happens next.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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