Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cold Fire (Spiritwalker #2) by Kate Elliott

Posted by Simcha 6:22 PM, under | 2 comments

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.

Cold Fire, the second book in Kate Elliott's Spirit Walker trilogy, picks up right where Cold Magic left off. Cat and Bee have escaped from their house after it was taken over by the Cold Mages who intend to have Cat killed and Bee married off to one of their own. With nowhere else to go, the two girls turn to the aid of a troll solicitor who Cat had recently befriended. But just as Cat and Bee think they might be safe for the moment, Camajita, a escaped rebel leader, arrives at the doorstep as well, followed by several other unexpected and unwelcome visitors, that have Cat and Bee fleeing once again.

Cold Magic was one of my favorite books of last year and I had really been looking forward to this sequel. I couldn't wait for the chance to spend more time with Cat, Bee and Rory, find out more about Cat's parents and- most importantly- see how Cat and Andevai's relationship would develop. Cold Fire did provide me with most of the answers that I was hoping for, and time with these great characters as well, but it didn't quite satisfy me in the same way that Cold Magic did.

The first problem I had with Cold Fire was the beginning. The first chapter of the book is actually the same as the last chapter of Cold Magic, but with a bit more detail. Because it's been several months since I had read Cold Magic I might have appreciated this reminder of how the last book had ended, if the chapter wasn't so full of secondary characters from the first book, whose purpose I couldn't remember. I had no trouble with Bree, Cat and Rory were but for the life of me I couldn't remember who all the numerous other characters crowding the pages were supposed to be. After the first two chapters I was so confused that I just went back and reread the last section of Cold Magic, which helped a great deal. Though usually I just don't have the time to be able to do this.

Once I got a sense of what was going on I was better able to enjoy the story, and enjoy it I did, although it continued to feel somewhat disjointed to me. 

After fleeing the law offices Cat and Bee are on the run again and for the next half of the book Cat is shuttled from one location to another, with barely a moment's rest between each crazy adventure. After a near- escape to the Spirit World Cat finds herself a captive of a powerful creature that preses her into his service before spitting her out onto a secluded island of zombie-like pariahs, after which she eventually makes her way to a large city where she gets caught up in the middle of the political tug-of-war.

I suppose I felt that there was just too much going on in this book, and not all of the story lines received equal attention. While in the Spirit World Cat is forced to take on a task which supposedly causes her a lot of worry but to which she actually gives very little thought, until the very end where it seems to be resolved as an afterthought.  On the other hand, the political strife between the Cold Mages, the Warlords and the rebels takes up a lot of the story, though I'm not a big fan of politics in my books and had trouble following it all (a problem that extends to real-life politics as well).

I also felt that there were too many secondary characters thrown into the story without adding very much to it. And those characters that I wanted to get to know better, such as Bee and Rory, and even Andevai's sister, weren't focused on enough. I was particularly disappointed in regard to Rory who I really liked in Cold Magic and was looking forward to finding out more about in this book. But Rory isn't even present for most of Cold Fire and when he is doesn't actually do very much and has no personality to speak of.

On the other hand I was really happy that Elliott does let us spend a lot of time getting to know Andevai better and that his and Cat's relationship was resolved, and not dragged out as I feared it might have been. We also do find out about Cat's parents, especially her father, so the answers that I was hoping for were provided. There is also no end of excitement and even though it did feel like a bit too much, once I got past the awkward beginning I couldn't put the book down.

The bottom line is that if you read and enjoyed Cold Magic you're going to want to read Cold Fire as well. It might not be as good as the first book but it's still a fun read that moves the story forward nicely and ends with an exciting climax that will make you eager to get your hands on the next book. Plus there is no way that you would want to pass up on some of the delicious scenes here between Cat and Andevai. Those were definitely my favorite parts of the book. And Elliott even offers an extra, "adult", Cat and Andevai chapter on her website, which I did read, though I admit that I prefer the pure romance that's already delivered in the book.


I had the same trouble as you with the beginning and the confusion just stayed with me.

And yes more Rory time.

I liked the book, but was still disappointed

I had the same problem as you with a sequel I read recently. Only it didn't begin with the last chapter rewritten but right where the last book left off. This confused me because I read the last book a year ago and had forgotten most of the secondary characters and the details. To top it off, I think most the second book was unnecessary.

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