Title: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Historical Paranormal YA
Synopsis: In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their secret family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld. Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies. Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?
I was first enraptured by the cover. I mean it is totally beautiful and mysterious, how could I not be drawn to it? As a huge English history fan I was excited to find it. I expected it to be a bit Steampunky with lots of debutante style romance. To an extent I was correct; however, I found the book a little more campy than I imagined, and that wasn’t necessarily a positive. Anyway, let me break this all down for you.
What I liked: As I said, I’m a big fan of English historical drama, and this definitely had elements of that. Sure, it seemed a little modern at times, but I chalked that up to the author attempting to fit a whole secret society into an actual time setting. I thought that the author did a good job of maintaining certain aspects of the era without letting it completely overtake her story. That sounds weird, but that’s the best way I can describe it. I sort of imagined the world as a fantasy world similar to Regency England vs. actual Regency England. It worked and I don’t think the story would have worked as well in a more modern time. This book has a sweet romance at it’s center, which really tugged at my heartstrings. Sure there are some problems with our romantic leads, but instead of it being totally heartwrenching, I feel like the characters were more “I do what I want,” about the supposed obstacles. Needless to say, I didn’t come away from this book feeling like I was punched in the face.
What I didn’t like: I felt like there were a lot of stories happening at once and I wasn’t necessarily interested in all of them. I skipped some sections, and when I start skipping sections I start feeling cheated. There is a sequel to this book that focuses on another character, so I understand why the author had all these smaller back stories, but it doesn’t mean I enjoyed them. I’m not one of those people who wants to read a sequel about a character I’m not really invested in; even if the characters I am invested in will be in said sequel.
Overall, this was a decent enough read. Didn’t leave me shouting from the rooftops one way or another 2/5