Breath of Earth by Beth Cato (Blood of Earth #1) August 23, 2016

Genre: Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk

Off my Bookshelf, Unread Books

From The Story Graph:

After the Earth’s power is suddenly left unprotected, a young geomancer must rely on her unique magical powers to survive in in this fresh fantasy series from the author of acclaimed The Clockwork Dagger.

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 power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills. 

When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, 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 powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.

My Thoughts:

Full disclaimer: I picked this up when my reading mood went sideways so I won’t talk about pacing. When I first started it, I was enjoying it, but it felt like it was going super slow. When my reading mood changed, I flew through it.

This is not my first steampunk novel. it is, however, the first steampunk novel that made me want to explore this genre more. This it the first in a trilogy and it serves as an uncovering. The world as Ingrid knew it is shattered. Se discovers that she is capable of much more than she thought. But she also realizes that she not only does she not know herself, but she doesn’t know the people around her. Some are hiding their truths from her and some are keeping secrets about her from her. But, Ingrid is often overlooked and is much stronger than she knows. I enjoyed seeing Ingrid trying to figure out what was happening. She learned more things about herself and her family. Then she made choices for herself, choices that inevitably put her at risk but benefited others, just not in the most obvious of ways.

When Cy first appears, to be honest, I didn’t trust him. Like Fenris and Lee, he does grow on you. They all have complicated backstories, but I am unsure if we will get to see just how complicated. The magic system is unique but we learn about it through Ingrid, who is also not an expert. She is able to do stuff that she shouldn’t be able to and she doesn’t know all of what it is that she can do. There are a variety of magics but the main -Ingrid’s specialty- is geomancy, Earth magic. Ingrid is able to take in power from the Earth. Wardens are able to feel the movement of the Earth (earthquakes) as well as use it to fill Kermanite -which is the power source for everything. It powers airships as well as lights. But, Ingrid can do so much than that. The other thing I like is the fantastics. These are the mythological and folklore creatures that actually exist during this time, I honestly didn’t pay much attention until Ingrid had an encounter with Selkies. I suspect that they play a bigger role later on.

In short, I really liked this book. Ingrid was the perfect character -she was capable and likable. A little naive in certain areas, but confident in all the right ways. The second book will be heading my way soon and I can’t wit to continue on with this story.

Always Shine!