Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review - Cold Steel (The Spiritwalker Trilogy #3) by Kate Elliott

Title: Cold Steel
Series: The Spiritwalker Trilogy #3
Author: Anne Eliott
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Pages: 597, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.04 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (While the sex is not explicit in this book, there are a lot of sexual situations and violent scenes - the book is written for an adult audience)

Summary from Goodreads: The fantastic conclusion to the Spiritwalker trilogy! 

Trouble, treachery, and magic just won't stop plaguing Cat Barahal. The Master of the Wild Hunt has stolen her husband Andevai. The ruler of the Taino kingdom blames her for his mother's murder. The infamous General Camjiata insists she join his army to help defeat the cold mages who rule Europa. An enraged fire mage wants to kill her. And Cat, her cousin Bee, and her half-brother Rory, aren't even back in Europa yet, where revolution is burning up the streets.

Revolutions to plot. Enemies to crush. Handsome men to rescue.

Cat and Bee have their work cut out for them.

*This review contains spoilers for the first two books in the Spiritwalker Trilogy!*

Cold Steel was my September Random Read, and I finished it just in time!  I was looking forward to reading this book because I had read the first two books in the trilogy and I was excited to find out what happened to Cat, Vai, Bee and Rory (and friends!).

I knew going into this book that it was not going to be a quick read.  Elliott's writing style is somewhat poetic and often dense, filled with cultural and political allusions - and the book is 600 pages long!  Still, I read the book in just a few days because I was eager to find out how Cat would rescue Vai and what would happen in the war against Europa.  Cold Steel didn't disappoint and gave us a very fitting end to the series!

The negatives:
  • Politics.  Elliott infuses her books with a lot of history and culture so that you are really entrenched in her world.  This is great, but I have to admit that the political discussions (discussions about clientage, women's rights, etc.) sometimes bored me just a bit.  It wasn't that I wasn't interested in the issues themselves, it's just that the book felt slow whenever political topics were discussed at length.  This is just a personal preference, though - some people might love the rich political history that Elliott has created. 
  • The Spirit world.  I absolutely LOVE the Spirit world in this book because it is so unique - I don't know if Elliott pulls from any existing mythology or lore, but I have never read anything like it!  There are so many captivating elements to this fantasy world - the Wild Hunt, the Salters, the djeli, cold mages, fire mages - I could go on and on.  Cold Steel delivers amazing fantasy action, just like the first two books in the series did!
  • Cat and Vai.  Any time Cat and Vai were together, the story bloomed for me.  I absolutely love their complex, realistic relationship.  Neither Cat nor Vai are perfect (far from it), but they love each other despite their flaws and their personality quirks make for fantastic reading.  Cat's impulsiveness and wild side perfectly balance Vai's logical, arrogant demeanor.  And their fierce loyalty to one another is truly remarkable - I knew that nothing would keep them apart, even when things looked very bleak indeed.  Add to that the addictive spark that occurred any time Cat and Vai were near each other and you have an amazing romance!  
  • The ideals.  While I wasn't always excited about the political discourse in this book, I definitely appreciated the ideals that Cat, Bee and Vai (and, to some extent, Rory) were fighting for.  I loved that Bee and Cat really blossomed in this book and realized that their worth did not have to be determined by a man.  Bee especially turned into a true feminist (without becoming bitter toward the men in her life).  I was also rooting for the revolution to stop the slavery and injustice that was occurring in Europa, but I appreciated that Elliott didn't imply that it was a simple fix - the world had complex problems that would need complex solutions - and taking sides was a lot harder than Cat and Vai originally imagined!
  • The ending.  I was a bit worried for a while about how this series would end, but Elliott managed to create a twist that was exciting and gave us closure!
The Spiritwalker Trilogy is a really unique steampunk series with amazing world building!  Cold Steel did not disappoint - it provided lots of fantasy action to end the series on a high note!  4/5 stars.