Cold Magic

Cold Magic

Book - 2010
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An epic fantasy set in an alternate Victorian era--Provided by the publisher.
Publisher: New York : Orbit, 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316080859
Branch Call Number: SCIFI Elliott Kate
Characteristics: 532 p. :,map ;,21 cm.


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I adore Kate Elliott as a panelist for her incisive thoughts on worldbuilding in fantasy and unpacking all of our typical assumptions when creating fictional worlds, so I know I'm going to love her novels once I have a chance to dive in. This alternate Victorian-era trilogy seems like my perfect ... Read More »

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Took a while to get into the book. But it got better and will read the next in the series. I like the main character.

Aug 26, 2015

This is my first Kate Elliott book but it won't be my last!

Barbara5060 Jun 09, 2014

Really enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to second book!
It's a romance? It's an unexpected adventure started by a startling betrayal. The plot is complicated by various species, powerful mages, and new friends, uncertain friends/enemies, and the discovery that what Cat has always thought was her history is only half truth. Fascinating read.

Jun 06, 2014

This wasn't what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I was looking for a book like many of the authors others. More complicated, dense and detailed. Instead I got more of a typical steampunk genre book, with the young characters, simpler writing and romance.

It's still a good book, especially Elliott's world of ice and magic. And in the end it's that brilliant world that will bring me back to read the next book.

Nov 12, 2012

Could not finish, only got 2 chapters into it, did not peak my interest at all.

(Staff) Kyla Zerbes Jul 19, 2012

Slightly convoluted but eventually I got drawn in. Hoping the second book is a faster read.

Jul 14, 2012

Excellent! A compelling, delicious read with complex intriguing characters, an unpredictable and breathtaking plot, set in a marvelous sweeping setting. Elliot always excels but this series is astonishing. Don't miss this!

Dec 20, 2010

I don’t often find a book I want to read again after the first initial inhalation of its story and characters. I don’t want to pore over events that shape the narrative, linger over the words spoken and the feelings felt by the different characters. It’s a rare book that engages me to the extent that I will read and reread because every time I do, I find something more to take away from it. However, Cold Magic, the first book in the Spirit Walker trilogy, is one such book. I found myself reading as slowly as I could so that the pleasure that came from reading it would last a longer time. And when I did finish the book, I immediately went and looked up the author to see when the next installment is coming out because I don’t know if I can wait until it does and…well, there is no release date yet. Boo.

Cold Magic fascinates because of the detail with which the alternate world is created. The history, the people, the mythos – it is all so exquisitely detailed that the reader will find herself both swept away with it but at the same time, in some detached manner, breathless at the superb skill of the author. The story is not built on a shaky foundation which is made loose by a logic question or attempts at reason. It is solidly woven, binding together different parts of the world to create a gorgeous tapestry, a setting in which the wonderful characters of the book can exist.

There are two women: Cat and Bee. Girls, really. Both twenty. Usually when you have two characters, there is a lack of balance between them. One is deemed more important than the other. It is a testament to Ms. Elliot’s writing, that despite the story being told in the first person (Cat), Bee is just as much intriguing and an equally strong character as Cat. Neither of them are perfect but both have been characterized in a manner that transcends their otherworldliness and makes them relatable to the ordinary reader curled up by a fireplace (or not). The other characters are just as strongly hewn. Their individuality, whether they are present for a chapter or two, is very present. I’ve said it before, side characters and their characterization is very important to the success of a novel and Ms. Elliot delivers wonderfully on those counts. The romance is surprising with its presence and all the more compelling for its element of unexpectedness.

Another strength of the novel comes from its pacing. The entire novel is like a race. Tensions increase as the finish line is approached, the sense of danger skitters across your skin and you (no matter how much try not to) read as fast as you can in desperation to see what happens next. The story has many layers, it’s a complex interweaving of different dynasties, different times and different hopes. It is unpredictable to its last page and I’m so running out of superlatives right now.

This was a brilliant premise to what promises to be an awesome trilogy. If you are interested in steam-punk, strong heroines, friendship and sizzling romance, read this. Even if you aren’t interested in any of those things, read this anyway. It’s too good to miss. (more reviews @

gnsarah Oct 04, 2010

Trapped in a marriage
Cat is not the right cousin
Your brother's a what?


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whiteshadow13 May 29, 2012

An epic fantasy set in an alternate Victorian era--Provided by the publisher.


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