By day, Sondrine Renfrew works at Cimmerian’s Curio Emporium, her aunt’s apothecary and antique shop in London, 1875. By night, she weaves fire, water, and air into both inanimate objects and living creatures. When a hooded stranger offers Sondrine a snow globe in trade for medicinal herbs, she accepts, enchanted by the castle, forest, and sea encapsulated under the glass.
Her enchantment fades, however, when her deceitful aunt betroths her to one of London’s wealthiest men—a complete stranger. Determined to escape the marriage, Sondrine trades her corset for trousers and decides to run away. With one foot out the door, she falls down a veritable rabbit hole into Winterhaven, the haunting world inside the snow globe.
Sondrine soon discovers her arrival in Winterhaven is no accident. There, she meets Shán, a man who broods more than the darkened sky above. Turns out Shán is not to be trusted. Not only is he the man who sold Sondrine the snow globe, he is a bounty hunter employed by the king. The beginnings of a sovereign war have been set in motion and an Immortal queen, one who uses fire as a weapon, is set on destroying Winterhaven. Because of her Elemental gifts, only Sondrine has the means to stop the queen. If Sondrine refuses the king’s request, he will behead her. If she rises to the challenge of killing the Immortal queen, her death is just as imminent. After all, an Immortal queen cannot be killed.
Or can she?
This is the best book I have read this year. This book is amazing. I am in love with every part of it. I NEED the next installment NOW! There is no way I will ever forget the ending of this book. I will now be stalking this author's Web page eagerly waiting for news on the next book.
Get to writing now! Please.
I really expected the amount of time i spent reading about Cimmerian’s Curio Emporium to be more lengthy. Instead, at only 10% into the book, i was whisked into Iscaeld, the cold land inside a snow globe that the main female character had bought a the very beginning of the book. The author set a steady pace from the beginning and dove right into the adventure. I love a story that flows nicely and doesn't drag on. On every page something new and amazing happened.
The world that this is set in is rather unique. Iscaeld is a cold place ran by a strict king. The king rules with an iron fist. In this land there are many people with unique and extraordinary ablities. There are many mythical beings and beasts. This world is beautifully described and as I read the place became real in my mind. Again, perfect.
This is exactly what I expect and want from a fantasy book. A perfect book, for me anyways, needs to be properly portioned, and this is. What I mean by that is that if an author focuses too much on one subject and it becomes repetitive and annoying. One scoop action, one scoop world building, one scoop dialogue, etc., then blend.
As for the romance. Yes, we have a budding romance between Sondrine and Shán, but this is more fantasy/adventure than fantasy/romance. I would describe this as Frozen meets The Lord of the Rings. I don't now what book two will contain, but there were adult situations, not graphic sex, just situations. An example is a scene where the king tries to force himself on Sondrine after she tries to avoid her fate of marrying him.
I have never said this about any other book before, the characters are PERFECT. I have feelings of dislike and almost hatred towards the viilians, and will forever cheer for my team of good guys.
Sondrine is an elementalist who puts me in mind of Elsa from Frozen, but she can work with more than just ice. She is young, I think 18 or 19. Her character is amazing. She acts age and she is constantly learning from mistakes, experiences, and feelings. She is a very curious person and so eager to shape her life the way she wants. Her aunt has made the decision that she will marry a man who is just blah. He has a weird obsession with teeth, talks to her breasts instead of her face, and has an unhealthy love for food, his physique shows this obsession. To avoid this marriage, Sondrine decides to run away, but instead of gaining freedom she winds up stuck in a world where a king has basically claimed for his own. There is an Immortal queen who has vengeance against the king and it is believed that Sondrine is the only one who has the power to conquer it's queen.
Shán is a warrior for the king. He pissed the immortal queen off and she wants his head in exchange for what he did. He rescues Sondrine from the freezing wilderness, and out of self preservation, he hands her over to the king. He had no clue how bad it was going to be for her once she got there. He is witty, confident, humorous, and is very popular with the ladies. I like his character and feel that there is much more to him than we know as of now.
There are also some magical and mythical characters in the mix that play a huge role in the story; sylphs, alchemists, monstrous beasts that I can't remember what we're called (kindle battery dead), and more.
Shán says to Zhang the Elder, "If you can stay with Lark for a moment, I will help Sondrine get cleaned up."
The old alchemist takes my place on the bed, and with his pipe smoke, he creates an incredible spectacle of jungle trees, swinging vines, and wild animals of every sort. When Lark seems thoroughly engrossed and distracted, Shán escorts meme into the culinary. The pagoda is a mass graveyard of glass. One of the rafter has detached itself from the ceiling and hangs unsteadily, like a half-assed evergreen ready to fall with one more good shake.
I recommend this to EVERYONE! Especially if you are in the mood for epic fantasy. Honestly, this is one of my all time favorite books. Definitely my favorite of this year. This is fantasy done right.
I recieved an ebook copy of this from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.