Thursday, February 2, 2017

ARC Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Title: Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) 
Author: Elly Blake
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 367
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//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//

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. 

Ruby is a Fireblood. (Yes, I know the book is called Frostblood, but the entire thing is about a Fireblood. I'm guessing it has to do with her love interest at the moment.) She has the power to create and control fire, but people like her are feared and captured by the Frostbloods. One tragic day, Ruby's power is discovered and she is captured for the king. She is held prisoner for months, until she is saved by the mysterious Arcus and Brother Thistle and taken to an abbey for reasons she doesn't yet understand.

I really enjoyed Frostblood, but I feel like it had a lot of untapped potential and could have been so much more interesting. Every time I thought something really exciting was about to happen, it just kind of fizzled out and nothing really came to pass. Perhaps some of the things I wanted to happen in Frostblood will pop up later in the series. I was still entertained by the plot, but I kept thinking something amazing was about to happen, and it never did.

The pacing and development of the plot was a little off in my opinion as well. I can offer one little example of a plot point that I wish had been developed more. Towards the beginning of the book, Brother Thistle gave Ruby a word in an ancient language that she could use to focus her mind during her training. But we never learned what that word was. The characters just kept saying "the word." It's a simple thing, but I feel like I could have connected to the book a bit more if that point hadn't been glossed over. There were many opportunities to deepen the world building, but it always just stayed somewhat superficial. There was also a very distinct change in the plot about halfway through. I was just starting to really get into the storyline with Arcus, and suddenly he was gone for over 100 pages. I understand why this change had to happen to tell the story, but the change was a bit jarring and I ended up losing interest in the book for a little while until I got used to the new setting.

I enjoyed the characters in Frostblood, but I felt like I never really got a chance to connect with them. Perhaps this is because Ruby was our narrator and we only got to know the other characters through her eyes. I think I could have really adored Arcus as a character, but I was stuck seeing him through Ruby's eyes. I've never really had a problem with narrators or different points of view in novels before. This is the first time I've ever noticed the point of view affecting my enjoyment of the novel and my connection with the characters. I found myself constantly wishing that I could read from another viewpoint because I wasn't getting enough out of Ruby's.

I will most likely pick up the next book in this series, especially since it is set to release just nine months after Frostblood, but I am not sure how I will enjoy it. In reading the synopsis for book two, Fireblood, it seems as though Arcus might not be a prominent character. He was the most intriguing part of the book for me, so I will be disappointed if he is missing from Fireblood. Honestly, I would love to see a story told just about Arcus, or told from his point of view. I definitely enjoyed Frostblood and thought it was a fun read, but I felt like it was missing that wow factor that would have given it a higher rating.