I’ve had the first book of this trilogy, ‘Cold Magic’ in my bookshelf for years, I don’t know why it took me so long to read it. But I finally read it, and I quickly went and consumed the other two books, ‘Cold Fire’ and ‘Cold Steel’.

I guess the best way to describe this story would be as a romance set in a world with an alternate history to our own – longer ice age and magic. As technology spreads and clashes with magic, the common people also begin itching for revolution. As well as the struggle for freedom playing out in the mortal world (or, the Deathlands as they’re called in the book), a similar struggle takes place within the spirit world. The backdrop of these struggles plays into the heroine’s story – and in fact instigate her problems. However Catherine really only plays a minor role in the revolution and war (appearing at important points here and there) as she spends so much time being kidnapped, escaping, getting kidnapped again and wandering around the spiritworld. Unlike Elliott’s ‘Crown of Stars’, you only follow one character- Catherine, so while the other characters are doing interesting things which you hear about, you don’t follow their story. For a while, Catherine doesn’t have a specific goal outside of not being captured, but about halfway through the second book the story really gains direction.

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Speaking of the characters – Elliott does an amazing job revealing her characters’ personality through their body language. Slowly, you get to know the other people as Catherine gets to know them. There aren’t as many characters in ‘Crown of Stars’, but the ones there are are interesting and complicated, with many unexpected depths – I’m particularly fond of Bee.

The Spiritwalker world isn’t as rich and deep as that of ‘Crown of Stars’ (which you would expect, being so much shorter), but it is still highly detailed, with lots of history. Elliott’s descriptions of the world are also fantastic, and the little details of the icy landscapes – frost riming a stone, the feel of snow underfoot- are a pleasure to read.

The ending moves quite quickly, and the two struggles –  the one in the spirit world and the one in the mortal world – draw to a satisfying conclusion. I very much enjoyed this series, and I’m happy I finally read it. Does anyone else have an opinion on these books?

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