Review: Frostblood – Elly Blake

27827203Title: Frostblood (Frostblood #1)

Author: Elly Blake (Twitter) (Site)

Publisher//Release Date: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers// January 10th, 2017

Genre:  YA, Fantasy

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis: The frost king will burn.

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.

Rating: 3/5

This book was a conundrum. Understatement of the century.

Because there is a lot that I SHOULD have liked about this book. There are things that I really did like about this book. But there is a lot that I did NOT like about this book.

While I was reading Frostblood, I kept thinking of Ever the Hunted, how I rated that book, how similar these books were to me and how I thought many of the same things about both books – a lot of my notes could be for either book – but my opinions on the books are a lot different. Where as I feel I might have rated Ever the Hunted a little lower than how I actually and am looking forward to the sequel, I am worried that I’m being generous on my rating toward Frostblood and at this point don’t know if I would even bother with the sequel. And, looking at the ratings on Goodreads, I’m wondering if I am the only person who feels this way.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • The World and Mythology. I really enjoyed the world that was created for this story. There’s an entire mythology of gods and powers and basically a creation story for the magic in the world that I found really intriguing and it’s honestly the one thing that the sequel really has going for it that there’s room to explore this world’s mythology a bit more. The scene where this was all introduced was honestly my favorite scene in the entire book, info-dumpy as it may be,  and the is the reason that I just might pick up the next book when it does  come out.
  • The Writing Style. Writing style isn’t something I very often pay attention to when reading a book – I only really care if it’s really good, or really bad. This is a case of the former. I really liked the writing style of this book. I found it flowing and pretty but not overly wordy or flowery. Honestly, it was easy to relax while reading this book. With the right narrator, this would be a very good book to listen to.
  • Ruby. I liked Ruby a lot.  I thought she was very real and human, not just a girl with powers. It wasn’t hard to understand where she was coming from in any of her decision. She had moments that were really funny as well as very introspective moments that I could really relate to. I found her likable and a good heroine.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Weird Part One/Part Two Split. The story is literally split into “Part One” and “Part Two” and it really feels like this is two completely different books. There is a drastic tone shift between the two parts and basically all but two minor ,if that characters that  were introduced in the first part, Ruby excluded, disappear in the second half of the book. It make sense for the way the story goes that these characters aren’t there, but it’s jarring. I’m just getting to know all these people and now they aren’t around. Do they still matter? Do we know anything about what’s happening with them? Basically, I found it very confusing and didn’t like it. The worst part of this was is that I was really enjoying the book up until the split. I had issues with the characters and the romance but we had 45% of the book to go – this could all be fixed. We had time. And then suddenly we didn’t. And suddenly it’s Ruby and a bunch of new people. How important are these new characters that are being introduced? How much do they matter? To be completely honest, this was the thing I hated the most about this book.
  • Romance. I was so disappointed with the romance in this story. It was SO insta-love-y that I couldn’t take it seriously. The relationship between Ruby and Arcus started with all the makings of a great,  slow-burn relationship – they start out antagonistic allies and move to luvvvvvv and its wonderful –  but it  literally turned into a relationship with no real development to speak of. It missed all the fun parts of romantic development that I make OTPs for me and I lost all interest in their relationship around the halfway point. They had their moments, but it wasn’t enough for me.
  • Character Development. Other than Ruby, there wasn’t enough development of any one character to really get anyone fully formed for me. They all kind of fell a bit flat, even some the more of the major characters *cough*Arcus*cough*. I’m sorry if I sound a bit harsh on Arcus, but he mostly came off as a bland love interest and I couldn’t get past him.  There’s a few characters introduced in the second half of the novel that I feel get a bit short-changed, and will have a chance to get explored a bit more in the sequel, but I don’t know that it’s enough to keep me interested in them until that book comes out.
  • Predictability. This is another one of these books where I was able to predict many of the major plotlines very quickly and it kind of ruined some of the story for me. A good surprise would helpful when there isn’t a lot going for it. I think this irked me a bit more because I already wasn’t enjoying the story and it was making it worse for me.

tl;dr: Frostblood is the start of new YA fantasy series which looks good on paper but didn’t come through in execution. The interesting mythology and likable heroine weren’t enough to make up for the disappointing romance or lack of personality and development of the characters and the random tone-shift that occurred halfway through.

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