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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: January 10, 2017

Series:  Frostblood Saga, #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

This New York Times bestseller is perfect for fans of Red Queen.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.
Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating--yet irresistible--Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king's tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her--and from the icy young man she has come to love.
Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is the first in an exhilarating series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies...but together create a power that could change everything.

I started this book with excited anticipation, but after reading almost 3/4, I realized my problems with it were just not going to improve. I felt there was very little character development among our three mostly main characters: Brother Thistle, Arcus, and Ruby. Ruby does not stand out as a heroine and doesn't have much past besides her grandmother's stories and her mother dying almost immediately into the book. She also is pretty weak overall, and it's hard to see what strengths she has other than a temper. She has no other features to define her like a love of plants or animals or skills that set her apart. Her storyline is lending into a typical Chosen One where she'll be tempted by darkness, prophesied about, etc. And this brings up mostly what is wrong with this story: there's nothing that seems to be unique or stand out from the genre. It all feels borrowed from fantasy trope and predictable. Her romance with Arcus is also lackluster, as Arcus is secretive, brooding, and ultimately unimpressive in any detail that is revealed about his character. For most of the story, Ruby is either imprisoned or "in training" in an abby dedicated to Fors, a deity who takes in refugees. However, as a Fireblood, Ruby is largely hated. She's also (conveniently?) the only one of her kind left. She is supposed to be the only one who can kill the king and have an unstoppable Fireblood gift, but due to her weakness of character, this is very unbelievable.

The worldbuilding wasn't bad as I liked the details about the different gods, but it wasn't too clear what the history was and didn't make the reader feel fully immersed in the fantasy at all. There was little detail to the setting to set it apart or make it come alive. Ultimately, any reader who picks this up might enjoy it until they discover better written fantasies. There wasn't even enough suspense left for me to continue the book, much less try reading book 2, Fireblood, due to be released next month. After turning the book over, I also noticed it was highly praised by Morgan Rhodes, whose fantasies I also have a lot of problems with. I should have known better. Though I really liked Red Queen, which this was blurbed to have similarities to that title, this shot didn't even come close to being as good despite this beautiful cover. My opinion? Try Red Queen instead.

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.


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