Everyone slips into reading funks every now and then, right? I know that when I’m disorganized, stressed at my real job, and feeling overwhelmed by it all, I’m not a great reader. But I still start looking around for that one book that will break my malaise. Cold Magic did the trick for me recently. And not to be precipitate, but it’s one of my favorite books of the year.
From one of the genre's finest writers comes a bold new epic fantasy in which science and magic are locked in a deadly struggle.
It is the dawn of a new age... The Industrial Revolution has begun, factories are springing up across the country, and new technologies are transforming in the cities. But the old ways do not die easy.
Cat and Bee are part of this revolution. Young women at college, learning of the science that will shape their future and ignorant of the magics that rule their families. But all of that will change when the Cold Mages come for Cat. New dangers lurk around every corner and hidden threats menace her every move. Who can she trust?
Going in to reading this book, I knew that it had a pretty cover and that Velvet at vvb32reads had featured it during steamPINK week. No more information than that. The question then became, “What IS it?” Short answer: really good. Long answer: it’s a fantasy-adventure mash-up, featuring alternate history, fantastical creatures, best friends, traitors, mysterious magic, “icepunk,” a smattering of romance (complete with a forced marriage!), and an epic chase and fight for survival.
Cat and her cousin Bee are living in a world on the edge of change: a perilous world filled with both magic and science. And while the girls are slowly learning the extent of the danger and how their histories will throw them into that world, they are also just girls, and their daily exploits seem to be enough. Until disaster strikes. They’re thrown into survival mode as everything around them shakes and changes and new knowledge reveals even more of who they are, where they come from, and what their lives mean on a larger scale. It’s enthralling reading, and Cat’s adventure is hell-for-leather excitement and hazard.
My initial reaction: seriously frustrated that the next book isn’t out yet. My later reaction: it’s a quality fantasy for any age, but it has high YA crossover appeal. And at its heart it’s a very human coming-of-age story, with all the accoutrements of saga, myth and history to make it palatable for the most discerning of sci-fi and fantasy devotees. It made me believe the story in a way that (recent YA fantasy release) Brightly Woven did not. It’s also set in a fully realized alternate world, with histories and details set ‘just so.’
The book’s strengths, otherwise known as my favorite bits: 1) Cat – confused, fierce, loyal, scared…any way you paint her, the girl is cool. 2) Bee – I’ve come to realize that I really like books with strong female friendships. I’m best friends with my sister, and I identify with similar relationships when I find them in my reading life. I believed the story more because of the dynamic that Cat and Bee have. It’s convincing. 3) Cold magic and cold mages – very mysterious and very strange. But I want to know more. A lot more. Like, NOW. Hopefully we get this sorted in the next couple of books. And hopefully those books will come soon. The book’s weaknesses: none to speak of. Well, in my opinion. *grin*
Cold Magic takes place in a spectacular world with enough mysteries, tension and trailing loose ends to guarantee a satisfying three-part tale. And with an intro like that, you might think that I’m saying it was a set-up book. Not at ALL. It left me with a grin (from the part of the story we got) and a boatload of anticipation (for the part that is yet to come). My prediction: the story will only get deeper and better from here.
Recommended for: fans of fantasy, and the YA addict looking to dip a toe in more traditional fantasy waters without sacrificing strong female characters and traditional hints of romance.
Cold Magic releases on September 9, 2010. If you’d like to win this gently-read ARC before then, I’m going to give it away. Check out the info below!
Leave a comment on this post answering the question, "What do you think ‘icepunk’ means?”
Please include your email address or another method of contact. Giveaway is open internationally. Comments will close on August 12 at 11:59pm EST, and I will notify the randomly selected winners via email.