Book Review: Black Ice by Julia Blake

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

When I heard Julia Blake was writing a steampunk retelling of Snow White, I thought two things:

  1. “Steampunk” isn’t the first thing I think of when I think “Snow White…”
  2. OMFG THIS IS GOING TO BE FUN!

And IT WAS!

Julia Blake is a master at crafting intriguing but believable settings, and filling them with vibrant characters you can’t help but adore. With the Dwarvians of Black Ice, in particular, I fell in love completely and genuinely wanted to be part of their close-knit band. Completely humble-yet-swoonworthy Ronin, sweet old Arden and wise old Grein, lovable young Eli, no-nonsense Kylah, the lovely and talented Fae, brooding and mysterious Nylex, and the wise and cunning Greta… all so unique and well rendered, they came completely to life in my head.

So often with fantasy, it feels like more effort is put into the world building than the actual plot, but that isn’t the case here. Julia Blake excels at balancing plot and setting, giving the reader a strong sense of the story’s world without letting it overwhelm everything else. The Five Kingdoms was a fascinating land with a natural and believable back story, including the rise of the dangerous and power-hungry Contratulum and its surprising counterparts, which made for unusual and intriguing villains.

The twisting and turning plot kept me turning the pages, and I absolutely loved the low-tech meets high-tech sensibility created by the steampunk technology. It was all woven into the plot in a way that felt so natural and believable, it was steampunk in the truest sense.

If you’re a fan of sweeping fantasies, adventure-filled steampunk, ensemble casts, or fairy tale retellings, this is a book you’ll definitely want to pick up!

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