Kate Elliott’s Cold Magic: A Great Read 1

Shortly after Cold Magic was first published in 2010, I heard good things about it so when I stumbled across a copy, I picked it up and put the book on the top of my reading stack. However, alas, more books seem to appear on the top of my reading stack than I can read and before long Cold Magic soon got buried.

However, recently I decided to read a few fantasy novels written in the first person — something I’ve pretty much avoided because I have always tended to prefer those written in third person. I dug thru my stack looking for candidates and happily found Cold Magic. I cracked it open and soon became immersed into the world that Kate Elliott has built in her Spirit Walker series.

As is always the case with starting a new series, it took me a bit to acclimate myself to this new world, mostly because it’s different than anything I’ve ever read before. Kate Elliott herself describes it as an “Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency novel with airships, Phoenician spies, and the intelligent descendants of troödons (which were a small, intelligent, and agile species of dinosaur).” I found that to be an accurate description.

I admit the first half of the book seemed a bit methodical, however, the writing was a high enough quality that I really didn’t mind. But then roughly halfway through, a few developments occurred (I won’t say what because I don’t want to spoil the surprise) that sparked my interest. I laughed out loud at the humor I found written there and plunged into the rest of the book with reckless abandon, forgetting I was reading the book to study its style.

When I turned the last page, my first emotion was sadness that I couldn’t read more. I had so much fun reading it that I didn’t want it to end. My second thought was that I really wanted to read it again. Within two hours, I couldn’t resist any longer, turned back to the beginning and started over. Soon I discovered how well Kate Elliott had brought the book full circle at the end by partially answering the dilemma posed in the beginning. And yet, there is enough of a cliff-hanger that I can’t wait to read book two (Cold Fire). But first, I’m going to finish my second read of the masterfully written Cold Magic.

If you’d like to know more about the story itself, here is the copy that appears on the back cover:

Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. It is the dawn of a new age, but ancient powers still hold sway.

Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful cold mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlessness of their rule. What do the cold mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them?

I’m not going to say more because I don’t want to ruin the nuances and twists of the story line for you. I give Cold Magic 5 out of 5 stars as (obviously) I’m not only thinking of reading the book again, I have already started to do so.

If you want more info, you can find it here from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can find an interview of her (by Peter Orullian) at Tor.com here.

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