Thursday, September 16, 2010
Author: Kate Elliot
Pages: 384 paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Standalone/Series: 1st of Spiritwalker Trilogy
Release: September 2nd 2010
Received from author for review
Author info: www.kateelliott.com and twitter @KateElliottSFF
Spoiler Alert: In the clear
GoodReads Blurb: 'I was not a bard or a djeli or an historian or a scribe and I was certainly not a sage, but that didn't mean I wasn't curious ...'
Young Cat Barahal thinks she understands the world she lives in and her place in it, but in fact she is merely poised unaware on the brink of shattering events. Drawn into a labyrinth of politics involving blood, betrayal and old feuds, she will be forced to make an unexpected and perilous journey in order to discover the truth, not just about her own family but about an ancient secret lying at the heart of her world.
Cold Magic is a captivating mix of high fantasy, steampunk, romance, alternative history, mythical creatures, mysteries, epic betrayals, and adventure - all surrounded by a wall of ice. If you feel a little intimidated by the mix don’t worry – Kate Elliot is an excellent story teller (she’s been one of my favorite fantasy authors for years) and her main heroine Cat quickly draws you into the story. The story revolves around Cat as she deals with very personal betrayals and faces a world turned upside down though thankfully as her name implies – she’s a cat and always lands on her feet. Even though Cat is young and just coming into her age of majority (twenty years old) she has already had a difficult life since her parents passed away when she was very young and the only way she has to connect to her father is through his travel journals which she still has. She also belongs to a social group, the Phonecians, that is much maligned in her society and has learned to be a fierce defender of her heritage as well. Cat faces many of these challenges with her best friend and cousin Bee. Though Bee is more like a fanciful teenage girl with her crushes on boys at school, both girls are very loyal to each other and thankfully don’t fall into the trap of many YA heroines do by bemoaning and complaining about the unfairness of life. Through the course of reading the book you definitely get to see the girls grow up as the world they thought they knew changes completely and irreversibly.
Another favorite part of this book is the world building. The Romans, Celts, and Phonecians have a much different historical trajectory than what we are used to in our world’s story and these familiar names exist alongside things such as trolls, cold mages, ghouls and otherworldly portals. I am not a big history buff so I enjoy books that play with what I know and twist the story a bit. Another big theme the story highlights is that history always favors the victors. With that in mind, there is great upheaval in the world Cat lives in when people who have nothing left to lose decide it's time to fight back against those "victors". I loved the story of the cold mages and I am looking forward to learning more about the world Cat lives in where zeppelins rule the skies and cold magic trumps technology.
5 out of 5, I can’t wait for the next part of Cat’s adventure!