Erica Anderson's Reviews > Cold Magic

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
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's review
Jul 17, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: 2013-reads, fantasy
Read from July 12 to 17, 2013

I'm ambivalent about this book. I enjoyed the world-building, which is an alternative Europe in the early 1800s in which the Celtic tribes have intermarried with West African refugees. Very original. But a couple of things made this a three-star book instead of a four- or five-star.

First, the heroine is about 20, and her character sat uneasily between young adult and adult. While this is probably an accurate depiction of what it's like to be 20 in the world Elliott describes, I found myself annoyed that she was such a naive twenty (or, alternatively, such a grown-up teenager). Elliott may be trying to tap both the adult fantasy market and the young adult market, but as a result, the heroine's character didn't fit into either category comfortably for me.

Second, too much back-and-forthing with the parallel world of magic. Too many mysterious characters speaking in riddles. It began to seem as though any time the heroine got into a bind, she just magically popped into the other world. At that point, it ceases to be world building and begins to be a lazy plot device.

With that said, there's a lot to like about this book. The heroine's relationship with her cousin, Bee, is incredibly well done. As is the character of Andevai, whose arrogance covers up his pain and insecurity. Elliott does a fine job of making Andevai exasperating but likeable, since it's clear that his attitude is simply a defense against impossible circumstances.

While I found Cold Magic to develop slowly--it's clearly structured to set up a series--Elliott has created a fascinating world with strong, engaging characters.

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07/17/2013 marked as: read

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