Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking


Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking
Book Two of the Kanin Chronicles
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bryn Aven has always longed to be a part of her Kanin world. Though she has no social status because she’s a half-breed, she refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…the glittering palace of the Skojare.

The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal rival who’s been threatening the Kanin.  And being half Skojare herself, it’s a chance for Bryn to learn more about her heritage. Her boss Ridley Dresden is overseeing her mission and wants to help. He’s always been her most trusted friend—but as their undeniable attraction heats up, it’s a distraction she can’t afford. She’s about to discover that the Skojare world is full of secrets, and as she’s drawn in deeper, she doesn't know who to trust. And matters worse, as she gets closer to Ridley, she can’t even trust her own heart. 

What I Liked:

Three-star reviews are so difficult to write. It's hard for me to articulate what went wrong, but at the same time, what worked, and how that balance had me feeling like this book deserved three stars, as opposed to two stars or four stars. I feel like there wasn't a ton of specific things that I didn't like in this book, but at the same time, there weren't a lot of things that stood out to me as amazing.

In this book, Bryn and Ridley come back from Skojare with no answers, and no queen Linnea. Prince Kennet sends them back to Doldastam. But the queen contacts Bryn, and Bryn and Ridley find her. Bryn and a member of the Hogdragen, Kasper, go back to Storvatten with the queen. There is something eerie about Storvatten, and something that dangerous is plaguing the city. Bryn wants to complete her mission and serve her kingdom as a Hogdragen, but she's slowly realizing that she has no idea what she wants, or who she can trust. 

This book is a bit slow, in my opinion, and there are so many questions that still have yet to be answered. I was planning on reading the third book no matter what, so I hope the answers to my questions are in Crystal Kingdom. This book focuses on finding Queen Linnea, and once found, protecting her in Storvatten. Not the most interesting plot, and it did little to further the overall conflict of the series, in my opinion. I mean, sure, the ending is really explosive. But it took the whole book to work up to that ending! Which didn't really work for me.

So I thought the plot was a bit boring. One thing that did really work for me was the romance. No love triangle, as far as I can tell. Something huge shifts in Ridley and Bryn's relationship, and it's really crucial. We get to see a little bit more in terms of how much they mean to each other, and how far they would go to protect each other, as well as how far they would go with each other. I think Hocking won't throw a love triangle in the series at this point, which is a relief. 

I like Bryn. She spends the whole book trying to redeem herself, after Konstantin Black and Viktor Dalig escaped while she was bleeding in a dungeon (at the end of Frostfire). She works hard to prove to everyone that she deserves to be a part of the Hogdragon, sworn to the royal family. But as this book goes on, Bryn realizes that maybe she doesn't want to serve and protect the kingdom. Maybe she isn't cut out morally for some of the decisions she will have to make. Bryn's inner conflict is a very well-developed part of this book, and I like that.

We really get a feel for the Skojare, and Storvatten. Bryn's mother's tribe is just as icy cold as we would expect them to be. Prince Kennet is flirtatious, but the King is like stone, even with his queen reunited with him. Storvatten is creepy, to be honest, but in a good way, I think.

I really like the ending. It isn't what I expected, the last thirty pages or so. It crept on me and I didn't see it coming. I mentioned that I didn't necessarily like this structure, but I like the ending itself. It's a slight cliffhanger ending for sure, but not heartbreaking or eyebrow-raising. It definitely sets the tone for Crystal Kingdom though. Which I will be reading in the future!

What I Did Not Like:

I have so many unanswered questions! I knew that, in Frostfire, not all the questions that I had throughout the book would be answered. And that's fine, because that was the first book in the series. But very few questions were answered in this book too! For example - we get almost no more information on Konstantin Black! What's his deal? Who is he working for? Why does he keep calling Bryn "white rabbit" like he knows her? And Viktor Dalig - what's his role in everything? I don't understand the "villains".

I also don't understand how anything in this particular book relates to the changeling issue. In Frostfire, it seemed like Konstantin Black took issue with the changeling system, and wanted to eliminate it. But no mention of anything changeling-related appeared in this book. 

Basically, I'm finding that the overall series plot is very lacking. Konstantin Black's name is constantly being thrown around, but he isn't even in this book, and his role is still not made clear. Same wit Viktor Dalig. There is no progress in anything related to the changelings.

And of course, there is the fact that I keep forgetting that these creatures aren't human - they're TROLLS. It's so easy to forget this because there is little distinguishing between humans and the trolls. It was more of a big deal in the Trylle trilogy. But in this series, it's easy to forget that Bryn and the others are trolls. They seem human, but with different tribes. Like humans. Hocking really should do a better job of distinguishing troll characteristics in this book. Like, physical appearance, or plop in some Kanin abilities or something. 

I also had this overall feeling of boredom and meh, which was sad. I really liked Frostfire! But this book seemed like a filler of a sort. I feel like you could take about 75% of the content in this book out, and divide the remaining 25% of the book between Frostfire and Crystal Kingdom, and just have a duology. I hate it when sequel/second novels are disappointing like that!

Mostly, I think I just expected more, and this book/Hocking came up short. But hopefully Crystal Kingdom will prove to be a stunning conclusion!

Would I Recommend It:

I'd recommend this one if you enjoyed Frostfire and want to continue with this series. If you haven't read Frostfire, hold off. Frostfire was really great, but I can see this series tunneling really quickly. I'm hoping it doesn't, like the Trylle trilogy. I really liked Switched/Torn/Ascend. Overall, the Trylle trilogy and Kanin Chronicles are great, but this book is my least favorite of the five.

Rating:

3 stars. Not the best book by Hocking, but not terrible enough to make me not want to read the third book. I just hope Crystal Kingdom doesn't disappoint! I remain optimistic.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

8 comments:

  1. Great review Alyssa. <3 But aw, I'm sorry you were a bit disappointed with this one :\ That is depressing. But yay for still liking some things :D I don't think these books are for me. Maybe one day :D But oh, how the covers are gorgeous :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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    1. I'm not sure if you'd enjoy them, but the nice thing is that there is no love triangle in this series!

      You're very welcome!

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  2. The cover is beyond amazing but it sounds like this one suffered from sequel slump... or more accurately from middle book syndrome! Well, it still managed three stars so it's not all that bad!

    Great honest review as always!

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    1. Right?! I love the covers so much. Hopefully the final novel is better - though this one wasn't terrible!

      Thank you :D

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  3. The covers of this whole series is just BEAUTIFUL! I liked Frostfire, but I agree the plot of this series is a bit let down.. I hope it does pick up soon though - great review <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. Right?! I have high hopes for the third book, to be honest. Should be a crazy conclusion!

      Thank you!

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  4. I really liked Frostfire. Shame that the second installment is a little disappointing. I'll still read it though because I'm curious to see what happens next.

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    1. I think you might like this one more than I did, Marilyn! I wasn't feeling it, but that could just be me.

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