Frostblood – Elly Blake – Frostblood Saga #1 – Hachette Australia – Published 10 January 2016
In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light – until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.
But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her – and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.
Frostblood is an epic fantasy adventure that tells of a kingdom where darkness rules, frost covers the land and fire has all but been stamped out. Bloodshed, hatred, deadly battles, frost and fire magic, an evil-controlled king, magical training, and romance – this book has everything I need in a good fantasy.
Being a Frostblood means a death sentence. The king rules the land with ice, terror, and death. Ruby has lived a simple life hiding her gift of fire and helping her mother as a healer. But when the king’s soldiers raid her village and kill her mother, Ruby vows revenge. Taken to prison, her gift is hampered by damp and ice until she is rescued by a monk with the frost gift and a sullen and angry young man. They say they too seek to dethrone the king but they are hiding things from Ruby. Ruby will have to risk everything if she is to have the revenge she desires.
Ahh, the romance. There is nothing quite like a match that starts off with anger, distrust, and fear and that slowly warms (or in this case also melts) to become a partnership that stands strong against darkness and might even save the world. Ruby and Arcus despise each other from the start. But they each have need of the other if they are to have revenge and free the kingdom from tyranny. I love their fight, their passion, and their gentle coming together. She names him Arcus the Angry, he insults her gift and calls her a bundle of crackling firewood. Truly, is there anything better than a love story that starts off as far from love as you can get?
But the romance isn’t the only brilliant aspect of Frostblood. There is plenty of action and battles. The stakes are high, there are surprising reveals (I guessed half of one particular twist but was pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t completely accurate), and the fantasy feels fresh and exciting.
This book is a strong story in its own right but it also prepares the setting for the continuing series. And while I could equally be happy to leave the story to conclude here, it will be fun to again join with Ruby and Arcus in their next adventure and to see how this exciting series expands.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Magic, fire, frost, burns, kingdoms, royalty, war, fantasy, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Advisory: Violence, descriptions of death, injury, and fights.
Published: 10 January 2017 by Hatchette Australia, Hodder and Stoughton.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 304 pages.