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Witches and their woes with Magic

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Witches and their woes with Magic. Emma Day and her two cousins are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying...

Emma Day and her two cousins are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying and polite conversation leave much to be desired. Then a girl is found dead, frost clinging to her lifeless body, and the murder is traced to Emma. As their world is turned upside down, Emma discovers more about herself and her cousins, from her connection to the murders to the secrets of her family legacy.

With two parts fantasy, three parts chick-lit and one part action, Alyxandra Harvey in her latest “A Breath of Frost” brings to us an amalgamation of genres in Emma’s world of Regency London. The narrative is filled with strong female characters making a stand for their identity in a society of socially accepted male masochism, scrutinised lady curtsies, flamboyant balls and weddings. To top an already up-hill lifestyle, Emma discovers that she is a real witch with magic. This revelation will put her on a journey heading for a headlong collision with dark powerful entities of both magical and non-magical realms.

Emma and her cousins, Gretchen and Penelope, are the daughters of the infamous Lovegrove Sisters. They have led a rebellious but yet normal teenage lifestyle as daughters of a couple of earls and a rich businessman unaware of their ancestry. Everything changed the night Emma broke her mother’s witch bottle containing a spell that had bound their magic from showing. Unacquainted with their powers and the rules that govern magic, they wreak havoc and in the ensuing pandemonium a murder is committed. Suspicions flare and Emma is caught smack in the centre of this.

Corman Fairfax, nineteen is the heir to the Earl of Haworth in the non-magical world and is a Keeper of the Order in the magical world. The Order is the governing body of the Magical dimension that maintains peace and protects the balance of Justice. Corman and Emma are smitten by each other but Corman’s duty as the Keeper and Emma’s family legacy interfere to complicate and make things messy. As the first part of a trilogy, book one lays foundation to romantic affair in the making with all the necessary ingredients prepped. The author on multiple occasions questions the need for an oppressive but necessary evil of having a governing body, The Order, which regulates individual freedom on the excuse of greater good of the society as a whole.

Evil is not far behind whenever there is power for the taking. The Greymalkin Sisters are a corrupt group of witches who thrive on death, for ages have terrorised to upend the balance, threatened to destroy the world in their pursuit of power. Long ago the Order managed to banish most of them to the underworld but a new protégé is attempting to resurrect them to their former glory and all signs point to Emma. As if waking up from amnesia she and her cousins have to catch up to the magic they posses, unravel the mystery behind the spell Emma’s mom cast and acquit Emma from the murders she is accused off.

Numbers things ticking write for the narrative make in an exciting read for a varied demographic of readers. Elements of Thriller, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror and Romance along with in-depth descriptions of the ways of London folk in the 1800 make for a picturesque setting. I would rate the book a 3 out of 5 stars. A great opening act to draw attention and build anticipation for the subsequent books in the trilogy. However, too many angles from various genre categories create a mixed effect that on occasion ends up bring out the opposite of what could be a good read. 482 pages are a tad longer read for what could have been made a brisker narrative. Though I would give this a benefit of doubt, in view that the excess in could be a ramp for the story to take flight in the following books of the Trilogy.

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