Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
First off, I really ought to say that there are a lot of very good aspects to this novel. Some parts, such as the dream of the dragon, the bits with the illusions and the cold steel, and especially the alternate history of Europe right up to the Regency era, with all of the Napoleanic (Camjiata) flavors built right in, even going far back for the world-building to the great empire of Carthage, the Phoenicians.
Like I said, there's a lot to love.
Unfortunately, there's also the bad.
Andevai has got to be one of the most atrociously horrible character I've ever read. Not only do I learn to hate him right off the bat, but there's almost no good points to latch onto besides a little illusion of Catherine in his hands or the fact that he apparently, grudgingly, did the right thing later in the tale. I did not get the feeling that he was supposed to be Catherine's love interest even if she told us, also grudgingly, that he was handsome. I was not sold. No. Nope. Nada. Nilch. Or zilch if you prefer. However you want to say it, he is No Darcy. I mean... "Oh goodie he loves me, now I can forget that he treated me like crap, repeatedly, hunted me, tried to kill me, was shamed by his family and betrayed his master, albeit for me. Woopie. He did the right thing and seems to hate me for it. Oh, yeah, of course he's my true husband."
That's just the worst of it, but unfortunately, I also had some problems with the flow of the text. I didn't mind how dense it was, in general, but when I start wondering why we're still in this scene and it seems rather directionless at the beginning and a good handful of times throughout, then I had to put the book down and read something else. I don't like doing that. I rarely ever want to, even.
There's a lot of good promise in the book, though. I just wish it had been written by someone else. Or with better editing. Or maybe a good couple of beta readers that could have sat down and said that a good deal of better foreshadowing might have fixed it or that a slightly less traditional wrap-up to the core story might have been quite, quite welcome after having us work so hard to get through the text.
I dislike being this cruel to a book. Seriously. It's nothing personal. I generally love to read. I just wish I could have loved this one more and not so sporadically.
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