Title: Cold Magic (Spiritwalker #1)
Author: Kate Elliott
Genre: YA, sci-fy
Cold Magic tells the story of young Catherine Hassi Barahal, who, shortly before he twentieth birthday, is married to an arrogant cold mage, the haughty Andevai Diarisso Haranwy, who seems to regard her with as much happiness as one would a cockroach under one's shoe.
But then, why is it that, when Andevai's superiors find out that he married the wrong Hassi Barahal girl, and order him to kill her, does he refuse? Without answers, and faced with the question of who her real father is, since it would seem she has been lied to her entire life, Cat knows only this: she needs to warn her maybe-cousin, Bee, that the mage House who wants her killed is now after her cousin, to try to marry Bee off to Andevai in Cat's place.
But above all, Cat is faced with the question of whether or not she can trust her somewhat unwilling husband.
What follows is a race that will leave you biting your nails in nerves, cursing and laughing right along with Cat, Vai, Bee and Rory. Kate Elliott's world building is something to watch, it's so intricate and detailed, and, while that makes for an incredibly intricate and rich story, I found that the repetitive accounts about the story of how their world came to be the way it is tiring and unnecessary. It made the book, which is really absolutely great, drag, when it could have flowed so seamlessly, it would have been too good to express in words. On the other hand, the dialogue is so visceral, the characters so divertingly flawed, and the action scenes so good, I almost gave Cold Magic a 5/5. I can't pretend it didn't have this rather big fault, though, so 4.5/5 it is.
Cat's story is sure to ensnare you, and Cold Magic has it all: pig-headed heroins, haughty and seemingly indifferent heroes who turn out to be far too amazing for their own (and my sanity's) good, secondary characters with a depth that is quite remarkable, humour in just the right amount, family intrigue, lots of betrayals, and a romantic entanglement that makes me wish this wasn't a YA book... ;)
I other words, most highly recommended!