Author: Kate Elliott
Series: The Spiritwalker Trilogy, book 1
Recommendation: A good epic fantasy intro with a strong female heroine.
Summary: Cat Baharal is raised by her uncle's family after her parents died when she was a child. Cat and her cousin Bee lead a peaceful existence until one day a Cold Mage shows up at the door. He presents a contract her family signed many years ago to marry the eldest Baharal daughter; so married Cat is sent of to the far-away Four Moons House where she will learn new truths about herself.
Reactions: I have read some fantasy by Kate Elliott before a long while back and enjoyed it. Then this book caught my eyes with a whole bunch of positive reviews and I decided to give it a go.
After my previous read, I wanted something easy, fast-paced, and fun to read. This book is indeed pretty snappy when it comes to the plot despite being decently thick. And yet, it didn't manage to capture me as much as I had hoped it would.
The characters of the novel are a bit cliche, but with their own personality quirks. Cat is an orphan with a destiny and her cousin Bee is a seer equivalent. Cat's new husband is haughty, but good at heart, while the enemy is cold and merciless. There's a great deal of epic fantasy stamps in the book, which dampened my enthusiasm in reading it. It's not badly written, but I haven't felt like reading traditional fantasy for a while and I found I am still not all that enthusiastic about it now.
On the other hand, the world is a pretty interesting history alternative with Rome and Celts fighting over control in Europe. I found the politics part of the plot to be pretty good, an echo of industrial revolution. There is technology and magic co-habiting the world and I liked the balance that the author strikes between the two.
All in all, it's a good epic fantasy for the fans of sword & magic & politics type books, but it just didn't quite hit the spot for me. Still on the fence on whether I want to pick up the next book in the series.