Monday, February 3, 2014

Magic has been set loose in Regency London

The small sealed bottle drops and breaks, and the boring ball Emma Day is attending finally gets interesting. The room lurches.  Emma finds a bruised and bloody debutante in the garden room. A fire breaks out. And the debutante is murdered by black magic.

The breaking of the bottle Emma found in her mothers things has unbound the powers of Emma and her three cousins and opened their minds to a world that had been carefully hidden from them. This world of ghosts, curses, magical traditions and rules is utterly foreign to Emma, Gretchen, Penelope and Godric. Despite their disbelief and confusion, they must all quickly learn to control and harness their powers, Emma most of all. Her mother, before she went mad, was a famously feared and incredibly powerful witch who created a spell that caused everyone to forget...something. Something very important. The daughter of such a witch bears watching, and her actions are judged with extreme prejudice and distrust.

Meanwhile the serial killer is striking throughout London. The targets are getting closer and closer to Emma, and she and her cousins Gretchen and Penelope must find the killer before the cursed deaths bring life to the evil, black, ghostly Greymalkin Sisters, who feed on the magic of the murdered.

Parts of this novel were awkwardly written, but the overall tale was fantastic: full of magic, adventure, romance, and heroines with clever minds and quick wits. Emma is a strong character, and this is primarily her story, though Cormac shares the limelight enough to let the reader know his true thoughts and feelings. The cousins are delightful characters, as is Moira, the magical street urchin, and I think they’ll each be given room to grow as this series progresses. Ultimately, when A Breath of Frost ends and the threads are neatly wrapped up, there’s plenty of magic and romance left in Regency London to fill Moira, Gretchen and Penelope’s novels. 

Harvey, Alyxandra. A Breath of Frost. New York: Walker and Company, 2014.

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