Overall Score: 9/10
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Action
Series: Frostblood Saga, Book 1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Book 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.
When I first started reading, I was a little worried because of some similarities to other YA novels. However, I found it interesting enough to keep reading and I’m SO glad that I did. I ended up finishing this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down (or if I had to, I schemed to figure out a way to pick it back up again).
Even though some of the plot elements feel similar to other novels and there are some YA tropes, this book truly manages to differentiate itself from the very beginning. Every time I thought I could guess where the plot was going next, I was wrong. The author subverted many of my expectations through the inclusion of some unexpected scenes. Training of the chosen one is usually glossed over, however Ruby’s training (and her struggles with it) is actually one of the best parts of this book. There was an excellent balance of action and quieter scenes and, while I was left with some questions, the world-building was done quite well.
*One note, this book started off rather shockingly and there are some somewhat graphic scenes later on.
The characterization of both the main characters and the secondary ones is wonderful. Ruby is feisty, sassy, and has a will of iron. We spent a good deal of time with Ruby as she struggled with her training, her emotions, and her past. Seeing what she went through and showing the reader her flaws made me truly care for her. She’s flawed and we can see how she grapples with some of her decisions, particularly some of the darker ones. In this book, characters do have to face the consequences of their actions, something that I personally quite like in a book.
Plus that romance! It’s a hate-to-love romance and it built very naturally, the progression fitting with the both of the characters’ personalities. Arcus has demons and scars of his own and the original barriers between the two of them were quite understandable. What this book does very well is showing how the walls between them start to come down. I loved that they both had to face their own fears and prejudices (and mature quite a bit) as their relationship progressed.
This book was utterly captivating, enchanting, and engrossing. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA high fantasy or potentially high fantasy in general (while it is YA, the characters are on the more mature side). I’m already anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.