One of the things that I’ve liked about this series is that the author has given Cat a lot of personal strength. She’s been taken advantage of by almost everyone in her life but she chooses to focus on those things that she can control. I’ve seen some criticism of Cold Steel that Cat became a doormat to her love for Andevai. I read it as the opposite and believe her acceptance of her love and marriage to Andevai strengthened her. When her father, the Master of the Wild Hunt, kidnapped Vai of course she was going to go after him. That’s what love is and I’m not sure how that is a weakness. And, yes, she was a little ‘susceptible’ to Vai’s kisses. Don’t we all remember the first flush of love? They are still infatuated with each other. When it counts, she stands up for her rights in the relationship and makes it clear that she won’t be a wife who sits by while her husband makes all the important decisions. Her actions may sometimes frustrate Vai but he accepts and loves her.
The secondary characters are important to the story and it’s refreshing that you don’t always know who is good and who is bad. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” seems rather appropriate. Rory, Cat’s half-brother, is a hoot but is truly the one person who never leaves Cat’s side. Bee was still Bee. Cat loves her and I guess that’s enough. I’m not sure I would like her in real life, though. I also appreciated that all races were represented and there was really no distinction between them.
Kate Elliott did a nice job of wrapping up the storyline in a way that tied in several loose threads. Not all questions are answered and that’s okay. Life isn’t that easy and can’t always be finished with a bow on top.
It’s not perfect. Words and phrases are overused. For example, during the first half of the book, the author used the word “peradventure” so many times that I wanted to start counting for fun. In the second half, Bee’s “honeyed” voice is referenced almost every time she is mentioned. Plus, I believe writers have to be careful with exclamation marks and use only when absolutely warranted! Otherwise, it seems like fake enthusiasm! Everything isn’t exciting! Use them to make a point!
Overall, this is a good series with a strong female protagonist. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy. 4/5 stars.