“Frostblood” by Elly Blake (2017) Review

Fantasy is a genre I have never really gone towards, especially in literature. I thoroughly enjoy the odd fantasy film, television show or video game, so I’m not sure as to why it has taken me so long to grab a book in this genre!

It’s no secret for writers that it’s incredibly difficult to come up with new ideas, especially if you are vying for a particular genre. It’s also impossible to see from the eyes of somebody else who has perhaps read a story similar to yours, when you have never read it in your life. Frostblood unfortunately falls into a genre where the competition is incredibly brutal – the YA.

Frostblood is told from the first person perspective of Ruby Otrera, a seventeen-year-old Fireblood who wields the power of fire. The problem is, she lives in a country now ruled by Frostblood’s, those who wield ice. After Ruby’s Mother is murdered, Ruby agrees to come out of hiding to take her revenge and put the Frost King tyrant down for good.

Although the concept seems to fall into a typical narrative arc, Frostblood has potential to grow and expand its story into the second book. What I found about Frostblood was that the plot was very linear (if that’s the right word to describe it!). It felt as though I knew too much and knew how the story was going to pan out which, in turn, made it difficult to venture off the linear path. Saying this, later into the second half of the book, the pace started to quicken and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In terms of the conflict specifically, there needed to be more at stake. Some may disagree because the impending threat on the country (no spoilers here!) is in fact a rather large threat to deal with. Perhaps I as a reader felt too distanced from this ‘conflict’. I’m not saying I needed to see Ruby in the brink of battle (she does get into the thick of it later in the book) but maybe have her story intertwine to more locations or meet more people from all walks of life rather than keep her isolated for so long in the book. As I write this though, I realize that Ruby is in hiding or at least trying to keep her status as a Fireblood secret. This does present a challenge to the narrative sometimes.

I’m a sucker for romance (probably a closeted one!), though I’m not attracted solely to the romance genre. I need the romantic elements to be complimented by other genres such as science fiction, action, drama or fantasy in this case. In Frostblood, Ruby’s love interest is Arcus, a mysterious young man who helps recruit and train Ruby for her fight against the Frost King. Since Arcus was the only male around Ruby’s age it was obvious that she was going to end up with him romantically when the book teases romance. In spite of this, I’m curious as to how their relationship will expand over the course of the next book after seeing how Arcus’ story developed near the end of the book.

What Frostblood lacks in, it makes up for it in spirit and potential. Frostblood does indeed have a sequel coming out near the end of this year (7 September to be exact!) and I’m sure I will be tuning in.

3/5

Book supplied by Hachette NZ – (RRP: $24.99). Click here for details.