by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Breath of Earth and links to purchase it.
Hanford-born Beth Cato became a personal favorite writer of mine with her steampunk-fantasy-romance-flavored Clockwork Dagger duology. She’s back with a new series, one that I hope will have more than two installments.
Breath of Earth introduces Ingrid Carmichael, an orphaned servant in a San Francisco house of earth wardens, geomancers who use their form of magic to feel earthquakes, siphon off the energy, and store it in crystals that power the machines and weapons of the age. Secretly, Ingrid is more powerful than any warden, but women aren’t supposed to have that power, or any of the other powers she eventually discovers. When explosions level the building, she and her Japanese mentor are the only survivors.
This alternate history has an alliance between the USA and Japan. China is nearly depopulated, Thuggees in India are legendary figures fighting the British, and Chinatown worships a dead emperor. There are steampunk airships, and Teddy Roosevelt is a near-mythic member of the ruling elite (Everybody talks about him, but we never meet him…in this book).
Chased by the military, Ingrid tries to uncover who is behind the slaughter of the earth wardens, and why localized earthquakes are happening so frequently. She is aided by Cy, a designer of an airship, and Fenris, a mechanic. From a glittering opera house to the waterfront, from the most dangerous parts of Chinatown to the skies of the Bay Area, Ingrid races around the City by the Bay.
Twisted history, real people and invented ones, multiple mythologies, and young lust (on a fully-clothed level) meet and intertwine. Secrets abound, and most of the characters have them. There’s blood and guts (but not always Ingrid’s or Cy’s), death and destruction, but what would you expect? It’s 1906, and it’s San Francisco.
Cato has a knack for putting young women with unusual abilities in close contact with dashing young men of other ethnicities, surrounding them with clockwork and airships, and watching as love develops suddenly, but unfolds slowly. Cato’s Valley roots pop up in some humorous mentions of sun-dried products and Central Californian cities.
Feel the magic. Feel the earth move under your feet. Feel a sense of wonder. Read Beth Cato’s Breath of Earth.
To enter to win a copy of Breath of Earth, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “breath,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 10, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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