Book Review : Snowspelled

Book Review : SnowspelledSnowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
Published by Five Fathoms Press on August 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 170
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In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules...Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life. Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she's given him up for his own good. But the greatest danger of all lies outside the manor in the falling snow, where a powerful and malevolent elf-lord lurks...and Cassandra lost all of her own magic four months ago. To save herself, Cassandra will have to discover exactly what inner powers she still possesses - and risk everything to win a new kind of happiness. A witty and sparkling romantic fantasy novella that opens a brand-new series for adults from the author of Kat, Incorrigible, Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets. "With its unique twist on the Regency Era, SNOWSPELLED is clever, romantic, and filled with magic. Stephanie Burgis is a fresh new voice and I can't wait to see what she does next. Bring on the sequel!"- Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of the Kate Daniels series and the Hidden Legacy series"An adorable romantic novella"- All Things Urban Fantasy"A squee-filled, can't-stop-smiling delight"- Starship Sofa

After reading and loving Scales and Sensibility, I immediately picked up Snowspelled by the same author–and I was not disappointed. Snowspelled features a loveable and determined heroine, a charming love interest, unique world building, and lots of magic. 


As soon as the novel began, I loved its feisty heroine, Cassandra. Cassandra is outspoken, daring, and sharp. She is Elizabeth Bennet if Elizabeth weren’t at all concerned with propriety, had the use of magic, and a slightly less eccentric family. Cassandra was the first female magic practitioner ever, but lost the use of her magic in one big spell of an attempt to prove herself once and for all against the societal limitations of the regency. 


“There was a time when every magician in the country had known my name after I’d first fought my way into their ranks, aided by the power of my own family name and by Jonathan and Amy’s staunch support. The newspapers, naturally, had found it all hilarious: The lady who thought she was a magician.”


To save her fiance, the dashing Wrexham, from the shame of association with her, she calls off their engagement. To her horror, she soon finds herself trapped in the middle of a suspiciously unnatural snowstorm at a house party with him! And Wrexham is not content with cutting off all ties with his former love and seems determined to seek her out. But more is at stake than Cassandra’s love life, as she gets swept up in a binding pact with a devious elf, a pressing time limit, and huge potential ramifications, and all without her magical powers to assist her.


“The elf lord gestured sweepingly, and the snowflakes scurried to get out of his arm’s way. ‘This storm is no act of nature. Someone has been meddling with the land’s own magic, and we will all feel the damage soon enough.'”


Snowspelled has it all, romance, political intrigue, magic, and a fresh take on the regency era! I was living for the fact that Snowspelled had women reigning over the politics, as they were deemed much more sensible than men, and magic usage confined solely to men, until Cassandra. Similarily delightful was that race didn’t seem to be at all of an issue in this world, and Snowspelled has a cast of diverse characters, including a lesbian couple. 


My biggest complaint about Snowspelled was simply that it was too short! I really would have loved to read an entire novel based in this world, rather than a novella. I could have easily read an entire novel on the mere backstory of the book, with Cassandra fighting to learn magic and attending a Great Library for school and meeting Wrexham for the first time and battling him for the title of top student. It would have been wonderful to have more time spent getting to know all of the characters, the world, and to solve the mystery of who is behind the unnatural snow storm. 


Though the novella is so short, the author does a great job of fleshing out her characters. Both Cassandra and Wrexham in particular, managed to be completely sympathetic and believable in their emotions, motivations, and actions. Cassandra’s devastation and shame at losing her magic is utterly understandable and so is Wrexham’s desire to keep loving Cassandra but also respecting her wishes. It was great to read a male lead who was not standoffish, proud, or worried about societal expectations.  Wrexham himself is a feat, managing to be both entirely supportive and respectful of Cassandra, but also never bland or boring.


“But I know something else, too: Wrexham, for one, never wanted you for your magic.”


And I absolutely loved how Snowspelled dealt with the potential possibility of Cassandra reacquiring her powers. Instead of taking the easy route and weaving a magic wand or the like, and restoring her magic, the novella takes a different, more fitting and pleasing route. I won’t spoil it for you here! 


Snowspelled is a delightful, short, and sweet romp that comes to an immensely satisfying conclusion. I’ve already purchased the sequel and cannot wait read it. 


Book Review : Snowspelled - Blogging with Dragons

Posted November 30, 2021 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance

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2 responses to “Book Review : Snowspelled

  1. Regency era AND magic?! Thats all I need to know! ? Excellent review! I’ll have to grab this one AND Scales and Sensibility cause they both sound awesome lol

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