TBR Review: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

March 19, 2014 2014, A-, book rating, reviews, TBR Pile 4

TBR-reading-challgenge-2014Cold Magic is the book I’ve read for Wendy’s (The Misadventures of Super Librarian blog) TBR Challenge for March. The challenge this month is to read a new-to-me author from my TBR books and is posted on the third Wednesday of the month.

I’m also participating in the 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog, in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog and in the Book Bingo Challenge.

69c91-coldmagicmassCold Magic
by Kate Elliott
Series: Spiritwalker, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Orbit, 2010
E-book, Purchased
528 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: First volume in a fabulous fantasy adventure with a Victorian-era feel – featuring mages, dragons and two girls who’ll decide the fate of their world.

“What is freedom?” he asked bitterly, “and who is truly free? We are all bound by what we are, and where we come from.”
“Maybe,” I said slowly as I considered the turn my life had taken, the lies I had been told, “because we do not look farther than where we have been told to look. Perhaps it would all be different if we weren’t afraid of what we are. Or what we might become.”

What worked for me:

  • I like how complex this novel is. There are stories within stories and we never know quite what to believe. I had fun trying to unravel the geography and history. The characters are full of life.
  • Catherine (Cat) Hassi Barahal finds out nothing about her life is what it seems when Andevai Diarisso Haranwy arrives at her aunt and uncle’s home and presents a contract that says the eldest Hassi Barahal girl must marry him–a cold mage. Cat is two months older than her cousin Beatrice (Bee) and so she must marry the cold mage. A binding marriage immediately takes place and Cat and Andevai leave for his home. Thus begins a journey for Cat, Andevai and also Bee.
  • Cat is a strong character though it takes awhile for her to find that strength. By the end of the book she’s found strength though she’s still searching for who she is.
  • I like the sense of history. The first sentence of the book: “The history of the world begins in ice, and it will end in ice.”
  • The power of story is very important in this book. Cat has grown up reading her father’s journals. He traveled far and collected stories from the people he met. Cat discovers there is power in stories.
  • The setting for the book is an alternate Earth where magic, dragons, trolls, the spirit world are all real. Many things are similar to our world and it’s interesting to see parallels–the Roman Empire, the Phoenicians, Celts, Africans all play a part in the book. However, much is different. For example, much of the world is covered in ice.
  • Politics plays an important role. The world is changing. Technology and industry are starting to appear, but the cold mages want no part of that. The common people begin to rebel and question why they live under the rule of princes and cold mages.
  • At the beginning of the book an airship brings excitement to the city where Cat and Bee live, but also unrest and violence.
  • There is a hint of romance in the book which I like! In fact, at the beginning of the book I thought maybe it was fantasy romance since Cat ends up married to Andevai, but the story doesn’t follow a traditional romance. I’m glad romance isn’t the focus of this book.

 What didn’t work:

  • Pretty much everything worked for me. I like fantasy that doesn’t spell everything out. The beginning of the book is sometimes confusing, but I like that the reader doesn’t know everything.

My thoughts:

Cold Magic was a pleasure to read. Even though the book is over 500 pages I quickly read the book and look forward to reading the next book in the series–Cold Fire.


4 Responses to “TBR Review: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott”

  1. Lark

    I’ve got this on my (old) ereader, too! I’ve been meaning to read it, but you know how it is – so many books, so little time. After reading your review, I’m bumping it a little higher up the list. It sounds good, and I’m feeling the need of more straightforward fantasy.
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