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Breath of Earth (Blood of Earth) Paperback – August 23, 2016
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“The acclaimed Cato creates an alternate early 20th-century San Francisco of stunning detail. Drawing on the power struggles of the refugees and women’s work, this vivid reality will keep readers intrigued to the very end.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger books, begins a new steampunk fantasy series with supernatural creatures, action-packed adventure, mystery, humor, a touch of romance, and more to come.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Breath of Earthis that rare gem, a thought-provoking, imaginative adventure of the highest order, chock full of wonder as well as heart-wrenching what ifs. It’s reminiscent of Jules Verne at his best, with brilliant characters who linger in the mind and heart. Bravo!” (Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Clan Chronicles on BREATH OF EARTH)
“Beth Cato gives steampunk a magical, global twist in an action-packed adventure that keeps the pages turning in anticipation. And if you don’t fall in love with Ingrid Carmichael after reading this, you have no soul.” (Michael J. Martinez, author of MJ-12: Inception and The Daedalus Incident on BREATH OF EARTH)
“Cato cleverly brings her colorful Barbary Coast-era San Francisco to life, highlighting the neglected perspectives of the outsiders and the dispossessed who made up the majority of its populace.” (Publishers Weekly)
From the Inside Flap
In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation--the Unified Pacific--in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her own talent--or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.
When assassins kill the wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by Ingrid's incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, San Francisco is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose the earth's energy to masterminds determined to control it for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese forces fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her already considerable magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.--Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Clan Chronicles on BREATH OF EARTH
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The culture and society are different than we might expect (I’ll leave it to readers to discover), but prejudices run rampant just as they did in our history. Protagonist Ingrid Carmichael bears the double burden of being both brown and a woman. The way she copes with the dismissive behavior and rises to the challenge of stopping a nefarious plot threatening her city and her family made me cheer for her again and again. No matter how many setbacks she suffers or how hopeless things seem, she keeps going. I love the friends she helps and relies on along the way; Cy and Fenris and her beloved adoptive little brother Lee. All in all, this was a great adventure and satisfying story. I felt it was a great lead-in for the rest of the trilogy.
The heroine was smart and funny and surprisingly flawed. She didn't have a simpering missish attitude but tackles her problems head on. Even when her problems turned out to be herself and deadly. The hero was a bit weak for me in that he didn't really shine in this book. I liked him well enough, but the heroine just stood out so much more. There are several secondary characters--both with fascinating back stories. I'm hoping to read more about both in future books.
All in all, this was a delightfully satisfying read.
I was able to guess one twist fairly early on (but as the story progressed, that twist turned out not to be particularly important), and the love interest was a little too perfect for my taste, but overall I loved this book and highly recommend it.
What I didn't like about this book - too much romance.
Top international reviews
It's 6am now and I've been reading it since last night!
Thanks so much for this amazing story !!!