Cold Fire is the second book in Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy. Some of the things that annoyed me about the first book were less evident in this book. On the other hand, the story didn’t hold my interest quite as well. There were times when I was glued to the Kindle, but there were also many times when I was restless and kept putting it down to do other things.
One of the things that annoyed me in the first book was the way the author delivered exposition in the form of unrealistic dialogue. Now that the characters and the setting have been established, there was far less of that in this book, although there was a little bit of it in the beginning when the author was reminding us of things from the first book.
Kate Elliott’s recapping approach in this book was interesting. The story actually started slightly before the ending of the first book, and the reader gets to see some things that had happened “off page”. I enjoyed that aspect of it; it was nice to see some of the stuff we’d missed before. Eventually, we get up to the point of the final scene in the first book and we go through those events again, but it’s told a little bit differently. The events matched up, but different things were given emphasis and I found myself forming an entirely different (and more accurate) opinion about a character who would be central to this book. There was at least one thing, though, that did seem like a blatant change. It didn’t really impact the story, but it was related to something repeated often throughout both books.
In the first book, I complained that the romantic relationship was predictable and occasionally unrealistic, but at least it didn’t overwhelm the plot. In this book, the romantic relationship gets a lot more page time and it continues to be predictable. I don’t have as many complaints about lack of realism, but it sure was a lot more melodramatic. For some reason I usually swallow melodrama better in epic fantasy stories than I do anywhere else in real or fictional life, but this was a bit much.
I’m writing mostly about the things I didn’t like, but that’s mainly because I just don’t have as much to say about the things I did like. I do still think the over-all story is interesting and, with the exception of what I’ve already mentioned, I like the writing. The action sequences are particularly well-written, I think. Many of the characters are likeable and fun to read about, with small bits of character-driven humor here and there that made me laugh.
Given the way things ended, I expect there is more melodrama in store for the final book, but I’m invested enough now that I want to see how things end. I’m giving this 3.5 stars on BookLikes, but rounding down to 3 on Goodreads.