Cold Magic: Spiritwalker: Book One Paperback – 4 Aug 2011
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It's a definite hands-down great read ... the characters, the mysteries, the background history, the cultural complexity, were all so intriguing I couldn't stop reading (Elizabeth Moon)
An exuberant narrative with great energy and inventive world building ... I utterly loved it (FantasyBookCritic)
An entertaining read (SFFWorld.com)
First volume in a fabulous fantasy advenure with a Victorian-era feel - featuring mages, dragons and two girls who'll decide the fate of their worldSee all Product description
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My only minor criticism is that I found the main male character fairly uninteresting, but the POV is not his and there are fairly long sections of the book where he's absent, so I didn't mind that too much.
Can't wait for the next one!
We're in a 19th Century Europe where the last ice age persisted, magic works and things are culturally very different. There is radicalism and technological progress in the air, but the ruling princes and cold-mage houses are seeking to maintain the status quo. There is a lot to enjoy about the world-building here, the way that cultures are drawn together to create the setting, the mysterious spirit world that lies in parallel with the mundane one and the dangers and powers of magic.
A great setting would be nothing without interesting characters, and our heroine is both well drawn and credible - she gets herself into trouble and gets out of it, sometimes she gets distracted by handsome men instead of her immediate struggle, in dangerous situations she may be terrified, but she also shows sparks of humour, something that fictional characters in dire straits seldom seem to retain, but real people often do. The characters around her are also intriguing and as a reader our views of them develop as we see more of their actions and understand more of their motivations. By the end certain characters were making me smile just by entering a scene, which is a sure sign that I am entirely engaged with a book
As for the story, it's clever, action-packed and compellingly told, as history and lies are exposed and every question answered raises two more questions that you need to solve even more urgently. Also - and this is important for volumes in a trilogy - it finishes at a satisfying conclusion - there is clearly more story ahead, but this book contained itself well.
So if you like strong stories featuring interesting characters in beautifully realised, culturally diverse and original worlds, this might be the kind of book you enjoy. It's easy to use the term "unputdownable", but this one I read so fast I virtually inhaled it.
The developing romance storyline is OK, but the characterisation is very weak. And the behaviour of other characters makes very little sense, and their motivations switch around madly.
But after all that ... it is still a novel that you will rush through and want more. If only this lady had learned how to construct a believeable world!!
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