Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Catherine Hassi Barahal has grown up in the home of her aunt and uncle since the age of six after her parents tragically drowned, leaving Cat as the only survivor. She has spent a lot of time idolizing a father that she barely remembers by reading his extensive journals. She also attends college with her cousin and best friend Beatrice (Bee), learning about the new technology sweeping through the country. Slowly fading are the old days of magic and tradition. Overall Cat’s life, while not void of tragedy, has been pretty good. That is, until a cold mage turns up at the house and Cat is forced to marry him in order to fulfill a contract her family entered into thirteen years ago.
With no time wasted, and no explanations given, Cat is whisked away in her new husband’s carriage to Four Moons House, one of the existing mage houses. Now, Cat’s past and that of her family’s is being called into question. With unease brewing between revolutionists and the mages, Cat keeps her head down and herself silent. She no longer knows who to trust or what the mage house wants with her, but she’s determined to make it out alive.
Cold Magic starts off slowly as Kate Elliott establishes the history behind the world she’s created. I found it unfolded to me less through the interactions of the characters and more through an internal monologue of Cat’s (the book being told from her point of view). I guess we could say this speaks to Cat’s character. She’s very book smart, is able to recall various maps of different lands and minute details given in class lecture. However, she’s also strong-minded and stubborn. When faced with the perilous journey ahead of her she doesn’t just give up to her situation. She lies in wait for the perfect opportunity to stand up for herself, and when needed, she’s fully capable of defending her life. She’s determined to get back to Bee, and even if everything else is out of her control, she will succeed at least in that one matter.
Cold Magic picks up with the appearance of Andevai, Cat’s now husband. He comes onto the page very mysteriously. We, like Cat, know absolutely nothing about him, and up to this point, we know even less about the cold mages. He’s proud and arrogant, but that same arrogance is well-founded as he’s extremely strong in his magic. Yet it also makes him a little blind to the motives behind his commanded marriage to Cat. We don’t know enough about him to truly know what side he will stand on. All I will say is that I held out hope for him throughout the entire book, and he and Cat’s interactions were the best in the book (second only maybe to the interactions between Cat and Bee).
The world Elliott created in Cold Magic is on the brink of another revolution. Years ago the man who would “unite the lands of Europa” was defeated and imprisoned, but there are those that would see him freed, and unrest is definitely felt throughout the land. Cold Magic ends with some questions answered, but others are given to take their place. At this point I’m fully invested in finishing Cat’s journey, and I’m happy that the entire trilogy is published.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex