Published: January 7th
Publisher: Walker Children's
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the 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 unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away ...or even worse, another witch is killed?
I am a huge fan of Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles, so when the opportunity arose to become part of this tour and do an early review of A Breath of Frost, I was positively thrilled to bits. A Breath of Frost is a marvellous historical fantasy with a creepy mystery and Ms. Harveys' trademark humour. Written with strong characters and some incredible world building, it was a pleasure to read.
The three cousins, Gretchen, Emma and Penelope are all so very different in their personalities, but not one of them was afraid to be themselves. Finding out that they are from a famous witchy family makes a huge change in their lives, but they take it in stride, each in their own way. The challenges that Emma faces in solving the murders really stretch her, but she learns from them and is not afraid to ask for help. I particularly loved the smouldering romantic tension between Emma and Cormac. Cormac has no magic himself, but he's a genuine knight in tarnished armor and his covert help is essential to the girls' quest.
Ms Harvey has put together a seamless and fully realised alternate Regency London that screams authenticity. It was very easy to imagine myself within its confines. I found myself reminiscing slightly over its parallels with Harry Potter, in that there is a witchy community side by side with the real world, that non-witches are completely unaware of. It also reminded me a little of another of my favourite series - The Demon's Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan - with the introduction of the Goblin Market. This is the dark underground where you can find potions and charms. I just loved its mystery, and the fact that Moira was there on the rooftops looking out for everyone. She is just so resourceful!
Add to this the fact that girls, young witches in fact, are dying, demons are causing havoc, antlers are hard to accessorise, and Emma is trying to find out why her mother chose madness instead of a regular life, and the book is almost un-put-downable. With a title that is incredibly appropriate, A Breathe of Frost, was actually a breathe of fresh air in my reading right now Mysterious, exciting, fantastical and romantic, I'm still trying to find something I didn't like about it, but the answer is zilch, I loved every minute of it and I'm certain that you will too.