Written by Kate Elliot
Pub: Sept. 26th by Orbit
Reviewed Copy: Trade paperback I bought.
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. (from goodreads.com)
Second books in a trilogy are always difficult books to judge, especially while waiting for the third book to be released.
First books set up a trilogy and we have all the joys of getting to know new characters and worlds and discovering where the series will lead us. There's a sense of a larger story at play and a smaller story that usually resolves itself to some degree of satisfaction by the end of the book.
Second books in trilogies are usually the darkest and where characters are most likely to make mistakes or seem to fail at the tasks set before them. There is usually more stratagem than action as the players must move into place in preparation for the final act. We can't really appreciate what happens now until at the end, when it finally all falls into place and we're left somewhat unsatisfied as we wait to discover how it all ends.
Cold Fire is the second in a series and it is a second book. Don't get me wrong, I loved it. This is a great series and I HIGHLY recommend it, but that being said, be prepared knowing you are reading the centre of a trilogy, so you are left with some unfinished business and unanswered questions.
Cat does what all heroes do in the middle of their journey. She rebels against the path laid before her and refuses to do what we want her to do. She frustrated me with the mistakes she made, especially early in the story. But I have confidence in the series so I know this is part of the journey. While Cat frustrated me, I do have to admit that her actions all make sense in the context of what is happening around her.
Cat and Bee are separated fairly early in the story and Cat is on her own for awhile. Cat really does not do well alone. It's interesting how little she was actually on her own in Cold Magic and her brief time alone highlighted how important connections and family ties really are to Cat. I'm interested to see if there is a greater fall out to some of the choices she made while on her own (in particular regarding James Drake). I also look forward to seeing the fallout of Bee's choices later in the book.
When Cat finds herself reunited with Andevai it was interesting how fast having someone she was tied to helped her settle back into herself. I loved watching their relationship develop and the way Cat especially had to figure out what she wanted from their magical marriage. I always enjoyed the scenes between them. Kate Elliot creates a wonderful chemistry between two characters, so much so that Cat herself spends much of the book questioning, as she was in Cold Magic, how much she feels for Andevai versus being simply attracted to him physically. As the location shifts from Europe we see Andevai in a new setting and get to know the character better. This really helped make their relationship more real.
Cold Fire has more politics and planning in it (as I said, it is book 2 after all) but there is still more than enough action to keep the story flying along. The ending is very exciting and sets up a third book really well. I was really excited to read Cold Fire but after finishing it, I can't wait to real the third in the trilogy Cold Steel to see how it all ends.
This is a really great fantasy series with amazing world building and characters you won't forget. You can find my review of Cold Magic HERE
This is the kind of series you'll want to reread again. Great characters and story!