Frostblood by Elly Blake
Book One of the Frostblood Saga series
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.
All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part 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.
Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.
What I Liked:
Here it is, folks - my first 2017 book review! After receiving a review copy, I couldn't wait to read Frostblood, so it's very fitting that this would be a review of my first 2017-published book. And even better - this book did not disappoint me!
Ruby is a Fireblood, and possibly one of the last in existence. Firebloods have been wiped out by Frostbloods. The king is a powerful Frostblood, aided by the power of an ancient evil. Ruby is discovered by the king's soldiers, the soldiers kill her mother, and take Ruby to a prison. When two frostbloods come to the prison to break her out in exchange for her help with taking down the frostblood king, Ruby is cautious but she agrees. She has despised frostbloods since her mother's murder, but the monks who take her in are not so bad. Neither is the warrior young man who assists the monks in breaking her out of prison. As Ruby trains to become stronger to defeat the evil power that is fueling the king, she begins to realize that she has a lot more to lose than she thought. But she will fight to protect the ones she has grown to love, and destroy anyone in her path.
This book started off shockingly (with Ruby's capture and her mother's murder), and I was hooked from that point onward. There are so many scene shifts in the book, so many settings, and so much action. You know how usually the protagonist in a fantasy novel will be in one setting for about half the book, and then after he/she "learns" everything important, he/she goes off to battle? Not quite the setup, in this book. I was on board with this! There were many changes of scenery, and the while Ruby is at the monastery for a good amount of time, she isn't there for the majority of the book.
I was so impressed with the characterization and character development in this book. Ruby is feisty and brash, qualities you might expect to see in a fire wielder. Arcus, the frostblood who helps break out Ruby and train her at the monastery, seems cold and impervious, just like you'd expect from an ice wielder.
I adored Ruby. She's a little impulsive and temperamental, and she has a very difficult time controlling her fire. I liked her feisty attitude, and sharpness of her retorts, and how she wouldn't take crap from anyone. Ruby is not weak, though she is vulnerable more than once in the book. She fights for herself and for others. At first she might seem selfish, but it makes sense, given how long she was in prison. And she becomes selfless and noble, as the book goes on.
Arcus is arguably the second protagonist of the book. The book is told from Ruby's first-person POV, but I think Arcus is just as important. He isn't a monk, but he lives with them. From the start, he and Ruby clash and do not get along. They push and pull, argue and bicker, and it really seemed like they hated each other. Arcus is impatient and stern, mysterious and hardened. I liked Arcus despite how hard he was on Ruby, initially. He had good reason to be hard on her, though reading from Ruby's POV might convince you otherwise. Arcus has a difficult past that he doesn't like to talk about, which makes him all the more mysterious. But once we find out his entire story, I wanted to hug him. He has had to live with quite a bit of tragedy - no wonder he wanted to be like the ice he creates.
How could I not mention the romance, after talking about those two? I loved the romance in this book. They are fire and ice - literally. I have always loved the idea of opposites attract, AND I love hate-to-love romance, plus all the arguing/banter... there is a lot of tension and passion between these two, and it spills over. But it's not just their natures clashing - their personalities are the exact opposite and it's so fun to watch unfold. I hope there will be more romantic clashes in future books, because this book certainly did not have enough! Also, no love triangle.
The story was sweeping and captivating, and had me engrossed from the start. I could not put this book down! Go figure, I started reading it around midnight. And I did not stop reading it until I was finished! It was that good.
I love fantasy, and I love how different and intriguing this fantasy was. The world-building was well-written, and I liked how much history of the kingdom that the author included. I liked that prophecies weren't too heavy in this book, though there were a few floating around. The author set up a really epic fantasy story, and I was impressed.
I am beyond excited to get my hands on the second book! While I thought this book ended perfectly and could stop there, I'm excited to see where the author will go with the story.
What I Did Not Like:
More tug-of-war between Arcus and Ruby! Their interactions are part of some of my favorite scenes in this book. I hope Ruby never loses her hot temper and spunk, and I hope Arcus never loses his imperious uptight-ness!
Would I Recommend It:
If you enjoy YA high fantasy, then I definitely recommend this book. It's good stuff, very fresh and engrossing and entertaining. I would have loved it as a standalone, but it's cool that it's part of a series. High fantasy is my favorite genre, and so I'm usually even more critical, with high fantasy. But this book really pleased me!
4.5 stars. I have no good reason for rounding down, other than I'm picky. But seriously, this book was incredible! I had a feeling that I would like it, but I really really liked it. I hope the next book does not disappoint me!
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