Hello humans! It’s certainly chilly in my neck of the woods at the moment, I’ve invested in a lot of knitwear and I’ve drunk an ocean of tea and hot chocolate but I’m still a little chilly. What better time to read a book set in a place so hot that cold becomes a commodity? Enter Coldmaker a book quite unlike anything I’ve read before…
Eight hundred years ago, the Jadans angered the Crier. In punishment, the Crier took their Cold away, condemning them to a life of enslavement in a world bathed in heat.
Or so the tale goes.
During the day, as the Sun blazes over his head, Micah leads the life of any Jadan slave, running errands through the city of Paphos at the mercy of the petty Nobles and ruthless taskmasters.
But after the evening bells have tolled and all other Jadans sleep, Micah escapes into the night in search of scraps and broken objects, which once back inside his barracks he tinkers into treasures.
However, when a mysterious masked Jadan publicly threatens Noble authority, a wave of rebellion ripples through the city.
With Paphos plunged into turmoil, Micah’s secret is at risk of being exposed. And another, which has been waiting hundreds of years to be found, is also on the verge of discovery…
The secret of Cold.
Let’s start with concept, because I think that’s the most powerful thing in this book. In this setting cold is a physical thing you can find, obtain and own – I’m not explaining it well, but the book does. It is one of the best uses of ‘here’s a weird idea I’ll write a book about it’ I’ve ever found.
The reason I think it works so well is that Daniel A. Cohen writes heat so wonderfully well. Even reading at a freezing bus stop first thing in the morning you can feel the blistering heat of this fantasy world. An extension of this is that Cohen is phenomenal at writing the pain his characters feel. You wince for them when they’re whipped or left to dehydrate. It makes for not only an immersive experience, but also characters that you desperately want to help. I was deep into this world by the end of the book and I think that’s a testament to Cohen’s writing talents.
What I liked is that this didn’t become ‘rich person saviour’-esque. There’s an element of that to it, which could have turned me completely off the book as a whole, but it is in general held in balance with an understanding that it is the Jadan who are the main characters in this story.
The one thing that sent it from being an instant 5 star to a four? The romance. I hate to be that person and for some people I know that romance is an important element to a story but for me this was so tacked on and didn’t serve the story at all. I think if the idea of romance being forbidden had been instilled more in the setting it might have been more effective. In general I think this could have waited for the sequel (please say there is a sequel) because there was barely enough time for the reader to get to know the characters, let alone for the characters to get to know each other. I actually rolled my eyes when the kiss happened because for me it didn’t feel like it was adding anything to the story or to the character. I’m making a bigger deal of it than I perhaps should, plenty of books I love have somewhat pointless romances, particularly in the beginnings to series, but it annoys me that this book, which I otherwise loved, had such a flaw.
If you like strange fantasy settings and rebellions this is definitely a book for you, I’d be interested to see how someone reading it in another season or who lived in a hotter climate might find it!
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Do you like reading hot or cold books in winter? Let me know in the comments below!