“The Melting Queen” by Bruce Cinnamon— History and Magic

Cinnamon, Bruce, “The Melting Queen”,  NeWest Press, 2019.

History and Magic

Amos Lassen

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.

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