FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake – YA FANTASY
(I did not receive this book for free in exchange for an honest review; I purchased the book myself. This will not change anything about my review; I will always review honestly.)
I have always been a fan of what I call “elemental fantasy” (the characters harness natural powers; i.e., fire, ice, wind, etc.) and I must admit I wasn’t too excited when I saw FROSTBLOOD because I didn’t think it possible to write elemental fantasy in a unique way anymore.
I was really, really, really, really wrong.
FROSTBLOOD is a fun piece of literature that seems to combine the best parts of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Eragon, a hint of Lord of the Rings, and a sprinkle of The Cruel Prince. I haven’t read a book in a long time where I read the entire thing in one sitting. I finished FROSTBLOOD in a record time of 2.5 hours, and I think I could read it again right now and still be intrigued.
So, here’s a bit of information about FROSTBLOOD for you to read. This may help you to understand my review a little more.
(this portion was taken from the book description on Amazon) “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.”
First off, I love the world-building. The whole concept of pitting fire against ice is brilliant; combined with the creative mythology, the background of the story is strong. There is a scene in the story where Ruby encounters a group of people sitting around the fire and telling the story of the Frostbloods and Firebloods to some children. While I enjoyed the scene, and was interested in learning about why the Frostbloods and Firebloods hate each other (as well as how they were created by the gods), I found myself going back to that scene whenever I encountered the name of a god…I had trouble remembering which gods belonged to which side. I think this issue could be alleviated just by my reading the book again, though.
Ruby and Arcus have great chemistry, and I enjoyed seeing their relationship grow. The idea of Ruby’s fire warming Arcus’s icy heart was well-written and a neat addition to the story. Arcus reminded me of Aragon’s stand-offishness (I just made that word up) combined with some of the mystery and characteristics of the Phantom of The Opera (because of his scars, not his singing). I was very worried that Ruby and Arcus’s relationship would turn into one like a certain dark fantasy series I’m not a fan of (no names here, but I will say it involves elves), but thankfully it stayed clear of steamy scenes. Romance in fantasy YA books is a pet peeve of mine, and while some YA books do it well, in others it seems very forced and unnecessary (that could just be me, though…I don’t care for romantic-type books very much). The romance between Arcus and Ruby matured at a good pace, but I did feel like Arcus suddenly went from not liking Ruby to *snap* finding her interesting. Or maybe he liked her all along and he was just hiding his emotions? Whether or not that be the case, I didn’t mind the romance in FROSTBLOOD as much as I thought I would, and I did not think it was forced at all.
I am interested to learn more about the character of Marella and why she is so interested in Ruby’s powers. I thought that Marella was a great addition to the story, as well as the characters of Brother Thistle and Butter. Even though Butter is not a full-fledged “character,” I am a horse person, and Ruby’s interactions with Butter seemed very natural. The language used when writing the equestrian scenes was spot-on, so I commend the author for that. King Rasmus was mysterious, and I really wanted to know more about his background. [MILD SPOILER ALERT] I haven’t read FIREBLOOD yet, but I am really hoping that he somehow miraculously lives because he is a great villain, and the way that he is so quiet is genuinely alarming. Also, I was not expecting the twist that Arcus was the warrior Kane AND that he was Rasmus’s brother. That was such an amazing plot twist, and I never saw it coming.
I love snarky and witty humor, and Arcus and Ruby's bantering was something I enjoyed very much throughout the story.
Ruby is a brave young woman and she took a great deal of punishment from her captors. I felt like I was watching her grow in maturity and bravery as the story progressed. She didn't start out a warrior like many heroines do, and she still wasn't that great with a sword even though she underwent training. I once heard Liv Tyler say that "you don't need to put a sword in a girl's hand to make her strong" and Ruby captured that with her self-confidence and bravery.
To me, FROSTBLOOD is a perfect example of great writing, well-developed characters, and a brilliant backstory. Although I did sense some political undertones, I chose to review the book without mentioning that because I didn't want to detract from the excellence of the writing and the story. Still, I was intrigued throughout the entire story and it was such a page-turner. I was hooked for those 2.5 hours, and I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t wait to see the story continue in FIREBLOOD, and I really want to commend Elly Blake for writing such an entertaining and unique story. I loved it!
I give FROSTBLOOD 4.5 stars out of 5.
Many thanks to Elly Blake for agreeing to co-host a giveaway with me! Today’s giveaway is for a UK edition of FROSTBLOOD. In order to enter, you must read the giveaway rules below, then follow the necessary instructions on the Rafflecopter. The giveaway begins August 15th (Wednesday) at 12AM and ends August 24th (Friday) at 12AM. Good luck! (And thank you again, Elly!)
This contest is for a physical UK edition of FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake. This contest is *not* open internationally: only to citizens of the US and Canada. In order for your entries to count, you MUST follow Elly Blake and Sadie B. on Twitter, and share a tweet using the form provided on the Rafflecopter. Any unfollowers after the contest ends will be banned from future giveaways. You must be 18+ OR have your parents’ permission to give your name, email address, and mailing address. The chosen winner must respond to the confirmation email within 24 hours, or another winner will be chosen. If you enter the contest with multiple email addresses, you will be banned from the contest. Please use only one email address to keep it fair for others.