Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life.
Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.
But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks…and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago.
To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses – and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness.
A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that opens a brand-new series for adults from the author of Kat, Incorrigible, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets.
This thing keeps happening to me where I have a novella recommended to me (in this case, by my fellow blogger, Brigid), I one-click it, and then it’s just as awesome as it was hyped to be.
I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, one of these times, it’s not going to work out and I am going to be so sad that a good thing has come to an end.
But it hasn’t yet, so rejoice!
Earlier this year, I read Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert, and in my review for that I raved about how much stellar world building and character development and feminism she managed to cram into a novella.
Stephanie Burgis did the same damn thing with Snowspelled. In her version of Angland, women rule the nation and men are relegated to being spellcasters. Oh, and she flips the scripts even further, because men are the ones who have to watch out for their delicate reputations or else risk being ruined by a woman – YES QUEEN, OH, GOD, RUIN ALL OF THE STUFFY ENGLISHMEN.
I’ve read a lot of regency romance (I write it too), so to see many of the social pitfalls of the time period turned upside down was beyond satisfying for me.
One of the things about the genre that bugs the hell out of me is how so many authors who write in it ignore the fact that London was an incredibly diverse place at the time. By the close of the 19th century, there were over ONE MILLION people living there and it was the largest city in the world.
Stephanie Burgis knows this. Snowspelled was packed with diversity. At least half of her characters were people of color. Also, LESBIANS, YAS. With their own romantic subplot that I would pay good money to read an entire book about.
Sometimes in novellas authors miss the chance to fully flesh out certain aspects of the story and it can therefore feel rushed. Don’t worry, that doesn’t happen here. Burgis packed more romance and action into this than the full-fledged (highly hyped) novel I DNFed just before picking this up.
Wicked elves, slumbering trolls the size of houses, the risk of a treaty between realms collapsing, and, oh, is that a rakish ex-fiance come to help our heroine?
As I write this, the year is winding to a close and many of my bookish friends are scrambling to complete their end of the year TBR challenges. Well, friends, look no further. You can read this novella in one-sitting, and you’ll enjoy the hell out of yourself while you do so.
I can’t wait to pick up the next!