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Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
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Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis is a fantasy novella set in an alternate magical England (Angland) and featuring a female magician. Her femininity is notable because in Angland men do the magicking while women do the politicking.

This is a romance-light romance novella. There is a romantic storyline but it was secondary to the main story of our heroine, Cassandra, which involved a dangerous run in with an elven lord and an unnatural snowstorm. The elves in this story, by the way, are more Pratchett than Tolkien, aside from having a treaty with the humans.

This was a fun story in a somewhat gender-swapped world, giving a slightly different take on a woman trying to enter a male-dominated field. I didn't really understand why, in a world ruled by women, they were still wearing skirts, however. Nevertheless the core idea of a society ruled by alternative gender roles was interesting and the tale had a distinct feminist bent to it, even within the context of the fantasy world.

Snowspelled was a delightful read and I am definitely looking forward to reading more about Cassandra, her adventures, and her friends. I recommend it to fans of historical and/or regency(-esque) fantasy and fantastical romance. The next instalment in this series is coming in 2018 and I, for one, can't wait.

4.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Aug 16, 2017 |
This novella sets up a new adult series by the author. It is fantasy of the "Jane Austen with magic" variety. I very much enjoyed this story about Cassandra Harwood who decided to become a magician despite the fact that magic is the realm of gentlemen while women focused on politics. She had the strong support of her brother who chose to be a historian rather than a magician. Her parents, however, were not so sanguine. Her mother held a high place among the ruling ladies and always intended that Cassandra would follow her path. Her mother has now passed away and Cassandra can no longer do magic.

In an attempt to prove that she was just as good as the male magicians, she tried a spell that was too hard for any magician to do alone. Now, she knows that doing any spell could possibly kill her. She is grieving her loss of magic and the loss of her fiance Wrexham. He is a gifted magician and she broke the engagement so as not to be a burden to him. He, however, is not willing to let her go. Nor are her brother and sister-in-law willing to let the engagement end.

Cassandra finds herself at a country weekend house party with her ex-fiance, a number of political ladies and their magician husbands during an unnatural snowstorm. The goal of the party is a ceremony to reaffirm the human's peace treaty with the elves. Unfortunately, when searching for a lost party of young ladies, Cassandra and her ex-fiance run into a troll and a scheming elf lord and Cassandra make a promise that could cost her life to keep and also break the treaty.

She has one week to find the magician who caused the unnatural snowfall or become the prisoner of the elf lord. Cassandra, who had lost her life's purpose when she lost her magic, now realizes how much she still has to live for. She and Wrexham need to find the magician and outwit an ancient elf lord.

This was an engaging story. I loved the historical setting. I loved the magic. The writing was smart. I loved the touches of humor and the romantic tension between Cassandra and Wrexham. The only thing I didn't like about the story was that, according to the author, more in this world won't be available for me to read until "sometime in 2018." ( )
  kmartin802 | Jul 22, 2017 |
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