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.
"... 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."
"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 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
"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
Combining history and satire, this debut aims to lay a foundational mythology for Edmonton."
~ Becky Toyne, The Globe and Mail
"The Melting Queen gives Edmonton the mythological retelling it deserves."
~ Edmonton Journal