19 June, 2017

{ARC Review} Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood by Elly Blake
Frostblood Saga, book 1
Published January 10, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
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.

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My Review

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This book is... complicated to explain. Not the plot necessarily, but my overall feelings toward it. While I did like and enjoy it, it's going to seem like I have more criticisms rather than actual praises. I guess you can say this was a guilty pleasure novel for me, lol. I hope you guys bear with me.

Okay look, Frostblood is nothing unique. It's the same fantasy plot you've seen over and over and over in YA fiction. There's a chosen one. There's a rebellion; a group hell bent on taking down the regime. There's a corrupt regime. There's that said rebellion recruiting and training the main character to fill out her potential and lead them to victory.

Like I said, same old, same old.

And yet? I found myself enjoying it after a while, despite the fact I wasn't even sure how I would feel about the novel. From the beginning, particularly the first chapter, I didn't think the writing was going to work for me because it felt underdeveloped and boring. As the story progressed, it didn't feel as vague anymore, but there wasn't much improvement either—but at that point it didn't even matter to me—Which is strange! I'm very picky about writing, if you've been reading my reviews. It makes or breaks a book for me most times. If anything, the writing here shows that Frostblood is a debut and that there's room for improvement in the series and future novels.

Now, the characters. At times, I found myself questioning Ruby and if she was actually consistent to her character. It's not the type of thing I notice because I'm truly not good at picking these things up, but... I don't know. I mean there was definitely a change, but I can't tell if that was because it felt like development or something else. Nonetheless, she was a decent character and a decent narrator. Nothing about her really stood out but I liked her well enough and that's that.

Now the plot... Like I said, this is literally nothing new. You have half a nation under the rule of a cruel ice king and anyone who shows fire powers are either killed or sent to the castle to participate in barbaric, coliseum-esque battles. Clearly some people don't like this and clearly they're trying to do something about it.

In the beginning, Ruby is taken and then rescued by the rebels. For the first half of the novel, and yes, I actually do literally mean half the bloody novel, it is Ruby earning her place amongst the rebels and their cause and learning to harness/control her powers. That's it. Not much else happens, except for the budding romance.

AND YET. As time went on, I grew to like it. Ish.

My main problem is that, in the blurb, it says something along the lines of Ruby being taken again and having to fight at the castle. But that happens in the second half of the novel and it really felt like Blake stretched out that first half waaaay too much. The second half is where it truly got better and more exciting, with more action and minor political intrigue involving the throne. If you go into the book expecting things to move quickly, especially to this part, you will be disappointed because it takes a while to finally reach it.

There is a romance in the book! And it was so cliché! I liked it for the most part, which is pretty much what I'm saying for this entire review, lmao. But honestly! You have a broody dude with a ~tragic past~ that somehow makes it justifiable for him to act like a prick (honey, no). Even at the end, when the full light of his past is FINALLY discovered, it was yet another bloody cliché, but at that point it was just whatever because of course! Anyway, Arcus, who I keep unwittingly calling Arceus, was an okay dude. He had his cute moments with Ruby later on when their friendship was growing and changing--I'm pretty sure she even calls him an overgrown icicle at one point--and those were the moments I really liked. It took a while to get there and in the second half, there wasn't much of him around (obviously, haha) so overall, the romance was eh at best in a non-biased point of view. Eh, but in an okay way, I guess? If that makes sense.

If anything of this review makes sense at all.

ANYWAY, this has got to be the most confusing review I have ever written and if you didn't understand a bit of it, I don't blame you. So! To sum it all up: the book is a cliché high fantasy novel. But it is also a guilty pleasure, so yeah, I did like it. Overall: 3.5 stars. You wouldn't be missing out if you skipped this one but if you'd like some mindless fantasy, sure, check it out.

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