Reading level: New adult
eBook: 825 KB
Release date: November 15, 2012
Series: Fire & Frost #1
Source: Review copy from Good Choice Reading blog tour
Reviewed by: Jenn
The Fire Breathers have come. The Underworld calls. A choice must be made…
With her feared half blood and flame-colored hair, DEIRA D'ANU is a constant reminder of human betrayal and the war that claimed the light from Innis Fail. Now, darkness and frost creep across the land, strengthening the Lord of the Underworld. War is imminent—an allegiance with the Fire Breathers is vital. When their champion, Balen, sees Deira, he believes she is the key to finding the light and stopping the dark frost.
But the Underworld calls to Deira, tempting her to turn her back on a world that never cared and betray the champion willing to sacrifice everything to keep her safe and save his world from darkness.
I have big love for this author when she writes the brilliant Charlie Madigan books as Kelly Gay so I was excited to give her alter ego a try, especially since EMBERS IN A DARK FROST sounded like fantasy magic when I read the blurb. I was a little wary when I found out that it was a New Adult novel because I've never tried anything in this new-ish genre and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I generally enjoyed EMBERS IN A DARK FROST, though there are some flaws.
My favourite parts of the book are probably the characters. I thought Deira was a great protagonist. She's been an outcast her whole life thanks to the red hair that marks her as having human blood (really not a good thing in this world) and she finally gets a purpose in this book. It's great to see her grow and see the spark of who she is really build as she comes to accept her destiny and explore her abilities. This being the start of a trilogy, she doesn't complete her journey but Deira's definitely an interesting person that you'll be rooting for. Plus, her powers are really cool and I look forward to seeing more of them in subsequent stories. (The New Adult categorization comes from the fact that she's on a journey of self-discovery but she's not a teenager anymore.) Balen, the champion and leader of the Fire Breathers, is also an interesting character, though he's more mysterious since he doesn't narrate. His relationship with the Crow was really neat (and I'm not going to say more than that to avoid spoilers) and the attraction between Balen and Deira is nicely established. Deira and Balen's antagonist is also well developed and I found myself feeling sympathetic towards him, though not so sympathetic I agreed with his approach to his situation. I love it when authors create characters who aren't black and white; the good guys and the bad guys both live in the grey in this book, which I found very satisfying.
I also really liked the setting, though I did find some of the world building unclear. I was instantly immersed in the world but it took me a little while to realize that it was a variation on Celtic mythology and to figure out exactly who Deira's people are. There were hints here and there but I paused a few times wondering who Deira's people are. They were obviously not human but it wasn't laid out well enough for me to understand the origins of the mythology until near the end of the book. I understand not wanting to bog the reader down with a pile of description at the start but I would have appreciated a bit more clarity, especially since I know the author is a fantastic writer. Perhaps this is a side effect of self-publishing?
Although EMBERS IN A DARK FROST is not a perfect novel, I did quite enjoy reading it. It's an engaging beginning for the author's Fire & Frost world and a satisfying foray into a more high fantasy world. I look forward to the next chapter in Deira's story, due out in 2013, and hope you'll give EMBERS IN A DARK FROST a try.
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