In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their 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?
Readers that love witches and young adult books have an engaging read in store for them with A Breath of Frost. Discovering family secrets and a heritage long kept hidden, these three young cousins have so much in store for them, some of which (like what I did there? hehe) romance, gargoyles, madcaps, silly debutantes, dashing young men, balls and oh my a finishing school for witches.
These girls discover they are witches after one accidentally breaks the binding spell that her mother placed on all three of them. Unbeknownst to them there was an entire secret society and world hidden from normal folk and that they now have to adapt to. In learning their heritage they also need to learn to control their powers that come with it. They are decidedly behind the power curve, and no one seems to let them forget it and yet combined with the force of their personalities and a whole lot of moxy they don’t let that stop them from kicking butt and taking names.
You can expect a lot of interesting magic – I really enjoyed the different forms of animals that the magic familiar of each person took. I thought it was a nice way to integrate the typical witches familiar. The use of spell ingredients is always fun for me, so you’ll see plenty of mention of that throughout the book. The smells of things are described rather well and I believe always helps pull you into a story more.
Oh yes, I already mentioned the finishing school yes? I think many young girls often dream of how interesting life might be at a boarding school I know I always did, and still do. It was very neat to so one just for female witches.
There was no shortage of things to enjoy about A Breath of Frost. Things start fast and keep a nice steady pace. I adored Harvey’s writing style, even though I was quite confused for the first 35 – 40% as to why the heck these “Keepers” were after Emma. While the book does feature all three cousins, Emma is most definitely the focus of the story. She is the main perspective, the other perspectives that are included are of course Penelope and Gretchen but we also get to see things a few times from one of the romantic interests, Cormac (and another minor character Moira). I have to say, in the beginning there wasn’t a very strong difference to me between Penny and Gretchen so I would get them confused a bit but ultimately that straightened itself out as things went on.
For the time period it was in there were of course some definite veering from ‘acceptable’ behavior. That being a considerable amount of kissing for a story that takes place in 1814 with unmarried debutantes *wink* I find this is often the case in historical fantasy books, not the kissing but the veering of the characters towards decidedly modern behavioral patterns. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me at all but I imagine it could pickle a few people. I say just roll with it, it works.
The style of things leaves the reader just as confused in the first half of the book as Emma is and you slowly learn and uncover things right along with her. She has so many mysteries that she wants to solve that you wonder if she’s really going to be able to figure it all out by the end because by then you as the reader I’m sure already have.
I seriously enjoyed the starter of this new series and look forward to reading more about these cousins. I’m really hoping that each future book will focus on each of the cousins in turn so we can get to know the others just as well as we did Emma.
If you love, YA, witches, magic, romance and historical settings with some definite tweaking then definitely pick up A Break of Frost.