Consider this your warning, there may be some spoilers in this review, definitely for Frostblood and potentially a little bit for Fireblood also.
Hello mortals! Today I want to share with you an example of progress in my life. I have grown as a human being and I’m so proud to tell you all that I, Judith, have managed to read a book series in the order in which it was intended to be read.
Yes, I got approved to read the sequel to Frostblood earlier in the year and then, while at YALC, I decided to purchase the first book in order to actual understand what was going on!
So first I’ll share my thoughts on Frostblood and then we’ll move on to Fireblood.
Upon returning home I was sharing my haul with my (long suffering) fiancé. As he read the blurb to Frostblood, he remarked ‘this is possibley the most YA book ever!’ I can see what he means…
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.
He’s not wrong is he? If you could make a mind map of YA clichés this would basically fit every single one. But I’m willing to admit that things are often clichés for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with exploring the nature of opposing forces both in nature and in humanity. Equally there’s nothing wrong with rebel forces and dashing ‘icy men’, nor maniacal rulers.
I’m not, therefore, going to totally bash this book as unoriginal as I can see how the author may have attempted to sow seeds of different ideas within the book. In addition, this is clearly the first book in a series and leaves a lot of potential for growth, development and for more unpredictable events in later books.
With regards to characters, it’s a fairly standard set of ‘strong female character’, ‘brooding YA hero’, ‘wise older friend’, ‘spunky female sidekick’ and some other similar characters. Ruby herself is fun to read, while not entirely original she definitely grows throughout the book and she isn’t so clichéd that you get annoyed at her.
I don’t want to dwell too long on Frostblood because Fireblood is where things start to get interesting. Let’s just say that this was a solid three star book. Nothing to particularly set it apart from the many similar YA novels but it has potential to get a lot better in the following two novels.
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past….
Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax–which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.
Another case of book #2 being better than book one. I feel like now that Blake has set her scene and the world we’re in is established she let herself get away from the YA mad libs hole we got into in book #1.
Not that we’re completely free of cliché. There’s something of a love triangle which felt incredibly predictable. While it wasn’t written in an unbelievable way, it still existed. I thought as a community we agreed that love triangles were only to be used in the direst of emergencies? No? Just me? Ok.
With that aside, this book does have a lot more action in it than Frostblood which appealed to me. I think that might be symptomatic of the idea that fire is the more passionate element and therefore the Firebloods share their emotions more. You also feel less like Ruby is trying to keep a lid on her powers which means more awesome fire battling.
I can’t deny that Blake is a good writer. She definitely knows how to craft a story and, while these books aren’t particularly out of the box, they are certainly entertaining. Since that’s one of the main things a book should be these definitely deserve their place on people’s shelves.
If you’re wondering whether these books are worth it I would say yes. They may have a lot of elements that we’ve seen before but they are certainly fun to read. I’m invested in the characters now and I’ll be interested to see where things go in Nightblood.
My rating: 4 stars (at this rate Nightblood will be a five star yes?)
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Let me know what you think in the comments below!