Cinnamon, Bruce, “The Melting Queen”, NeWest Press, 2019.
History and Magic
Every year since 1904, when the ice begins to break up on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton crowns a Melting Queen–a woman who presides over the Melting Day spring carnival and who must keep the city’s spirits up during the following winter. But this year, something has changed and a genderfluid ex-frat brother called River Runson is named as Melting Queen. Of course River’s reign upends the city’s century-old traditions and Edmonton is split in two with progressive and reactionary factions fighting a war for Edmonton’s soul. Ultimately, River must uncover the hidden history of Melting Day, forcing Edmonton to confront the dark underbelly of its traditions and leading the city into a new chapter in its history.
Writer Bruce Cinnamon wonderfully balances satire with compassion and combines history and magic to weave a splendid future-looking tale. River while a
genderfluid male lives in a magical version of Edmonton and is destined to become The Melting Queen, a feminine figure who presides over Edmonton during its large festival, and who helps bring in spring every year.
The combination of “boring, conservative Edmonton” with a genderfluid protagonist seems strange but in the end it all works as modern politics and historical fiction with a dash of magic come together.