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Book Club: BREATH OF EARTH by Beth Cato

Book Club: BREATH OF EARTH by Beth Cato

Join us for the first book club meetup of 2018 as we discuss BREATH OF EARTH by Beth Cato. This is an adult alternate history fantasy about a young woman with earth-based power in a world where women are assumed to have none.

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.

Join the GiC Book Club in person at Main Point Books in Wayne, PA! We will meet on Saturday, January 13 at 5 p.m. You can RSVP on Facebook at this linkPlease visit or call Main Point Books to pick up or reserve your copy of SIX WAKES.

Can’t make our in-person meetup? Tell us what you thought of the book in the comments below.

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Feliza Casano
Editor at Girls in Capes
Feliza founded Girls in Capes in 2013. She edits and writes for all sections of the web magazine, specializing in science fiction and manga. She occasionally live-tweets @FelizaCasano and you can find her at the same handle on Instagram posting pictures of paper products.
Feliza Casano
Written by Feliza Casano

Feliza founded Girls in Capes in 2013. She edits and writes for all sections of the web magazine, specializing in science fiction and manga. She occasionally live-tweets @FelizaCasano and you can find her at the same handle on Instagram posting pictures of paper products.

  • Christina Ailor

    I was sad to miss this book club meeting, because I loved this book! I love how confident Ingrid is. I like that she was already somewhat aware of her powers and trained in them at the start of the book.

    I really enjoyed the world building. Cato deals with multiple layers of oppression and colonialism in this book. Her exploration of these themes isn’t always subtle, but she didn’t need to make it subtext.

    I was also impressed by the action sequences. IMO Cato does a great job of building momentum and certainly came up with a few imaginative ways to put her characters in peril. (Bulls, gross, but can’t say that reminds me of any other sequence I’ve ever read). There was one event towards the beginning of the book that made me gasp aloud when it happened.

    I’m looking forward to jumping into the sequel. Breath of Earth was well plotted and Cato set up a few mysteries that can easily sustain a series.

    • Ingrid is fantastic. One of the things we talked about at book club was the fact that she’s super thirsty the whole book and spends SO MUCH TIME thinking about how hot Cy is, which was very amusing to me, especially because she got super excited about his “exotic” southern accent. xD

      But I think my favorite thing was the worldbuilding (surprising actually no one). The historical aspect is incredibly well-researched, and the author does an amazing job of depicting racism for the benefit of people who haven’t faced it the way Ingrid does. I’ve dealt with some of the things that get directed at Ingrid in the book, and I was impressed that Cato had such extensive understanding of both overt and subtle racism because she’s white.

      I bought CALL OF FIRE and I’m almost halfway through it – it’s super good! I appreciated that it addressed a lot of stuff that wasn’t adequately addressed in BREATH OF EARTH. And, as a lowkey spoiler, it goes even more in-depth into issues of colonialism, which I’m looking forward to dissecting.

      • Christina Ailor

        Yes! I loved reading a Victorian heroine who immediately and overtly acknowledged her sexual attraction to someone – while being pragmatic about the fact that she didn’t know him or have a reason to trust him.

        One of my favorite moments was when she realized that despite being aware of the oppression of Chinese people and having experienced discrimination herself, she still did not know what Lee’s lived experience of discrimination was, nor extent of what he had faced every day.

        I’m absolutely going to read the sequel. Interesting that my two favorite GiC reads have been about women of color who have geologic powers. (Closely followed by Uprooted)

        #ingrid4president #ingrid4ambassador