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Frostblood by Elly Blake

BOTTOM LINE: Fun and entertaining and an exciting new series

Genre: Fiction; Young Adult; Fantasy
Publication Date: 10 January 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“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.

Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is the first in an exhilarating series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies…but together create a power that could change everything.”

My Thoughts: Elly Blake’s entry into the fantasy young adult genre is not exactly groundbreaking but still manages to be compelling. Her story of ice versus fire is highly reminiscent of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, especially the sections where Ruby must compete in the tournaments. However, this should not concern interested readers for the story is still an intriguing one with plenty of differences.

Ms. Blake does quite a bit of worldbuilding within the story, an essential part of any new fantasy series. While this slows the pacing of certain sections, the payoff is considerable. It is one of the few fantasy novels where readers get the entire origin story of the world and its key players. Readers understand the politics as well as the magic, both of which are key focuses within the story. The lack of confusion about Ruby’s world is a welcome one, allowing you to focus on her trials and tribulations rather than trying to make sense of an unfamiliar world.

Ruby is another heroine in a long line of strong female characters upon whose shoulders rest the fate of her people. She has the determination and the fierce desire to win, a key trait of such figures. However, unlike some of the others with whom she could be compared, she also shows her youth in her irrational emotional responses. The intriguing part about this is the fact that Ms. Blake explains her emotional outbursts as part of her fiery nature; likewise the Frostbloods have an icy nature and are prone to hide their emotions. Indeed, there is a lack of angst in Ruby that is refreshing. Watching her harness her powers is equally fascinating, and the story ends with plenty of unanswered questions about her future potential.

While Frostblood may not be the strongest new novel, it is an entertaining one. Ruby gets under your skin in a good way, compelling you to continue along with her on her journey and forcing you to care about her that may not seem apparent given her propensity for emotional outbursts. The world in which Ruby must fight for her life is well-developed for the age target. While the story is somewhat self-contained, there remains plenty of fodder for future stories that will entice fans and make them anxious for the sequel. I think fans of the genre are going to love Ruby and Fireblood heart.

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