Every year since 1904, when the ice breaks up on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton has crowned a Melting Queen—a woman who presides over the Melting Day spring carnival and who must keep the city’s spirits up over the following winter. But this year, something has changed: a genderfluid ex-frat brother called River Runson is named as Melting Queen. As River's reign upends the city's century-old traditions, Edmonton tears itself 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.
Balancing satire with compassion, Bruce Cinnamon’s debut novel combines history and magic to weave a splendid future-looking tale.
About the author
Bruce Cinnamon was born in Edmonton and grew up just downstream in Fort Saskatchewan, along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Alberta and a Master of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto. His favourite authors and literary influences include Garth Nix, Haruki Murakami, Jorge Luis Borges, Rachel Carson, Thomas King, Tomson Highway, and Italo Calvino. The Melting Queen is his first novel.
- Nominated, Best Speculative Fiction at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards
- Nominated, Best Book Design at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards
- Short-listed, Sixth Annual Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize - Literary Fiction Category
- Runner-up, Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada - prose category
"... a captivating coming-of-age story with a clear hero who learns from the wisdom of their predecessors; intriguing villains who turn on the hero; and a surprising mishmash of once underdogs-turned-sidekicks."
~ Rebecca Geleyn, The Fiddlehead
"... a worthy, interesting read based on the essential idea that now is the time to unmask history and change what no longer serves us."
Combining history and satire, this debut aims to lay a foundational mythology for Edmonton."
~ Becky Toyne, The Globe and Mail
"Bruce Cinnamon doesn't put a foot wrong in The Melting Queen, his fantastical debut novel. In addition to providing humour and a surreal plot, the author examines some serious themes: identity, friendship, betrayal, and politicians creating alternative histories."
~ Margaret Goldik, Prairie Books NOW
"The Melting Queen gives Edmonton the mythological retelling it deserves."
~ Edmonton Journal
"Heartfelt, flawed, and beautiful, The Melting Queen is a modern fairy tale. Cinnamon creates a lost history, writing a legacy for River Runson that honors missing ancestors and gives Edmonton a second chance to confront the truth of its hypocrisy around oppression and expression."
~ Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, Foreword Reviews
"The novel, much like its protagonist and, I suspect, many of Edmonton's inhabitants, has an ambivalent relationship to the city it imagines: calling out its failings ... yet insisting on finding and, if necessary, inventing stories that reveal the extraordinary."
~ Jason Wiens, Alberta Views