Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

Finished: January 3, 2012
Pages: 512 (Paperback)
Add It: Goodreads
Series: Spiritwalker (#2)
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Purchased

Only one thing is certain: when Hallows' Night comes, the Wild Hunt will ride - and it feeds on mortal blood. Cat and her cousin Bee are caught in a maze of intrigue, treachery, and magic. Everyone seems to want something from them: the Cold Mages are trying to take them prisoner, and the warlord who wants to conquer all of Europa seems sure they have a special destiny to aid him whether they want to or not. Worse, hidden powers deep in the spirit world are rising, and they are the most dangerous of all. Cat must seek allies and figure out who she can trust in order to save the ones she loves. For if she doesn't, everything will be lost.

There will be spoilers for book one of the series: Cold Magic. To see my review of Cold Magic instead read it here.

Quote: “I can’t endure these constant protestations about the chains women bind on men. In truth, the chains all bind women at the feet of men.”

His eyes opened, corpse-still one moment and full of ire the next.

“Bold Taranis spare me from the compaints of virgins!” His voice was resonant, as lovely as a caress, even in anger. “Especially ones whose black hair is a snare to entwine the helpless and whose dark eyes provoke the tenderhearted to grief. How I despise the beauty of women!”

“Only because you feel entitled to something you have no natural right to possess!”

Cover Love: For some reason I really love the covers for this series. I like that the girl isn't white washed and that the Cold Magic cover was blue and Cold Fire has an orange/red theme.

Thoughts: After Cold Magic got off to such a rocky start for me, I was very much hoping that the sequel would not go down the same path. Delightfully, it did not. Cold Fire picks up where Cold Magic left off. While the first half of Cold Magic was weighed down by awkward amounts of exposition, Cold Fire doesn't suffer the same fate. Since much of the detailed world Kate Elliott was building was already set up in Cold Magic, we are allowed in this installment to focus more on the characters and the action. New characters and magic are introduced but I did not feel that it was too much, or find it confusing. We are thrown right along with Cat on to an island inhabited by zombies and fire mages. I found the new storyline to be exciting and never dull.

I liked Cat and Bee in the first book but I must say I absolutely fell in love with them here. They're very strong women. It's nice to see females who can be both romantic and gullible but also strong and logical too. I think too often female characters get written as too much one or the other, falling into a certain role, instead of standing on their own two feet. We watch Cat make mistakes. We watch her get drunk and act in ways she'd like to forget. We watch her swing a sword like a genuine badass and approach situations rationally. It's wonderful...

"He said nothing. Yes, he was physically handsome, and attractive in some other intangible way. After those first disastrous days, he had made an effort to help me. His kiss had certainly pleased me in a most startling manner. But I did not love him. How could I? I didn't even know him. And whatever he might think, he did not truly know me. He only believed he did."

I like that above all else Cat stays loyal to her cousin Bee and that is not lost in this book. Having grown up together and relied upon each other through it all, Bee and Cat do not dump each other when it's convenient, or when they'd rather be with a man. They are not catty toward each other or in competition. Even if blood does not necessarily tie them together they never even dwell on it. They know family is not defined by blood and that's something I really respect. We also finally learn more about Cat's parents in this installment. I liked the twist.

My favorite thing about this book was probably the romance. I don't swoon too often. It takes a lot for a romance to impress me. I found myself deeply invested in Andevai and Cat's relationship. I thought it was passionate and respectful. Built upon something important. I liked that neither character sacrificed who they were or expected anything of the other that they did not want to give.

I am immensely glad that I stuck it out after the rough start of book one in the series, because the world Kate Elliott has built and the characters here are way too good to miss. Like Cold Magic, this book definitely isn't a light read, Kate Elliott's book are lengthy and detailed and full of heavy world building. This book was more fast paced than the first though and I hope that the third book is even more impressive.

Recommendation: Fans of rich Fantasy stories who enjoy slow burning romances and tough heroines.


Four out of Five Coffees

Cold Fire is on sale now in paperback. You can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository and other retailers. The final book in the trilogy, Cold Steel, will be released in September of 2012.


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