August 28, 2016

Steampunk Sundays: Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

Series: Breath of Earth 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Steampunk | Alternate History

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.

Here's What...

  • I used to live in North California, close to San Francisco to be exact, so I love that BREATH OF EARTH  is set in my old stomping grounds. I could easily see Ingrid Carmichael and the rest of the Wardens running the city. 

  • I love how diverse BREATH OF EARTH is. The Asian infusion is on point and was done in a very respectful manner. I say respectful because Beth Cato deviated from the stereotypes and instead highlighted traditions and cultural aspects that gave the story a different feel.

  • There's some romance, but it's watered down and wasn't really the focal point of the story (love!)

  • BREATH OF EARTH  is very plot driven yet it told more than it showed. I wanted to see more of how these geomancers wield their power through showmanship via confrontations or fights.

  • Ingrid Carmichael, though an interesting heroine, isn't what I expected her to be. Ingrid is supposed to be a very powerful geomancer and yet her character is very understated in that she's more of a follower than a hero. I also found it a little confusing that Ingrid didn't exercise much of her abilities when she's been pseudo training for years. 

  • There's a lot of politicking involved which is basically the main conflict of BREATH OF EARTH. I love the intrigue, but as I've mentioned, I wish this debut is more action driven. 

  • Style-wise, I am a big fan of BCato's writing style. I love how the scope encompasses the world she created versus painting it just from the hero's POV's. We get a good feel of what the world looks like with geomancers out and about causing  volatility in the world. Earthquakes and natural disasters are imminent depending on which geomancer is in town and what said person is feeling. 

  • The world building is well defined, BCato painted a vivid world said in a very simplistic manner.

BREATH OF EARTH  is a cool debut to an equally cool and interesting series. I admit I wasn't wowed by it the same way as BCato's other steampunk series, Clockwork Dagger, yet I'm curious enough to follow the series and see where Ingrid and the rest of her geomancer posse will lead the tale.

Talk Supe


  1. Plot-driven is good, but telling might be a little difficult sometimes... I'm glad you ended up enjoying Breath of Earth, though, and I've added it to my maybe list :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  2. I almost added this to my tbr, but I wanted some more opinions. I'm definitely willing to give this a shot, even if you weren't wowed by it. Great review!

  3. I love the pic, but not sure I would pick up😏😏I agree. When we can really relate to a place we have lived or visited, it makes the story more real. Hugs and happy Sunday!

  4. I have not tried anything by Cato yet

  5. Well, I hope you'll enjoy the rest. I'm glad this one whetted your appetite despite not having enjoyed it fully.

  6. I would love to try this one out for the San Francisco setting, but like what you mentioned, I'd probably want more action too. Great review!

  7. Great review I totally agree. I reviewed this for RT

  8. Great review. Can you believe that I haven't read a steampunk? I keep saying that I'm going to and have just never gotten around to it.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  9. I love a good CA setting. This sounds like it's a good start to a promising series, despite the issues.

  10. I didn't realize that it was a new series. I was a bit mixed by her other one so I never continued but not sure about this one either, I'll wait for you to read more

  11. Oh this sounds like something I would love! I also like how you mentioned the romance isn't heavy!

  12. There were a lot of loves in that list. Sounds like a winner. :D


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