On a recent, rare library date with my love, I pulled this book off the shelf. I thought that maybe Colleen at Chasing Ray had mentioned it. It felt quite brazen, taking home a book I wasn’t sure I’d even heard of before.
I looked it up today, now that I’ve read the book. She did mention it very briefly, back in November. And she also linked to this fabulous post about racism by Kate Elliott, the author of this book, which I do remember reading. You should go read it, too. I had completely forgotten it when I picked up this book. I enjoyed the book as well, if in a quite different way.
Cold Magic by Kate Elliot Catherine, known as Cat, is a young woman of impoverished good blood attending University with her cousin Bee, with whom she has lived since her parents’ death when she was seven. It’s the Industrial Revolution (one could call it steampunk if one wished, though there is not so very much steam power in it); today’s lecture is on the science of air ships, one of which will be available for viewing that evening. That was the plan, anyway, until a cold mage arrives at their house with a claim on her, the oldest Hassi Barahal daughter. From there, things heat up, despite the cold surrounding cold mages. Cat is forced to leave her family and make several discoveries: family secrets that leave her wondering if she can trust anyone, the unpleasant plans the cold mages have for her, and previously unknown relations. It’s an alternate earth with a lovely deep culture. The cold mages are a union of Celtic and Mande African formed a few centuries back when the Mande nobility were forced to leave Africa because of a plague of ghouls, while Cat is of Phonecian heritage. Now the cold mages are the upholders of the current powers, opposed to science and industry and opposed by a growing populist movement. Cat is a delightful character, prickly enough not to set off goody-two-shoes alarms, yet not so headstrong as to make the reader want to bash heads against the wall in frustration. And the plot took enough twisty turns that I was frequently surprised at what happened next. As is typical for the genre, this is the first in a series, so you can choose to wait to read the book until the rest are out or be impatient with me.
Originally posted at http://library-mama.dreamwidth.org .
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