Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Title: Frostblood
Author: Elly Blake
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Frostblood Saga # 1

Hardcover, 376 pages
Publication: January 10, 2017 by Little Brown BFYR

Source: I won an ARC through a giveaway.


Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part 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.

I’ve read a few great novels so far this year and among them is Frostblood, the first book in a brand new Young Adult series. I first saw this book in the NOVL newsletter as a giveaway and thought it sounded interesting. Lo and behold, I was one of the lucky subscribers that received this book for review. I suspected Frostblood was going to be good, at least better than most of the YA I’ve read in the past but I didn’t expect to be swept away and so engrossed by the story and characters as much as I did. It was so much more than I expected and kept me reading till the early morning…where I totally looked and felt like a zombie the next day. But it was worth it. I finished it in one and half days! That’s how awesome this book was. It’s very rare nowadays for me to read a book quickly, almost straight through; where I can’t tear myself away from the book until I know what happens next. I think the last book that made me feel that way was Daughter of Smoke and Bones back in 2011! Plus I’m extremely picky when it comes to YA novels. It’s getting harder and harder for a book, fantasy at that, to stand out in a sea of fantasy novels/debuts but Blake’s book definitely caught my attention and it looks to be a start to a fabulous series.

Ruby, our main heroine was one feisty and stubborn chick, which makes sense since she’s a Fireblood; a person that wields and controls fire. Except Ruby never really understood or learned how to control her powers. Ever since Ruby was young, she was taught to hide her gift and never to use it because of how dangerous it was. But after the death of her mother and the destruction of her village; Ruby found herself in the company of two Frostbloods, who controlled water/ice and were willing to teach Ruby to master her powers. Under the condition that she’d help them kill The Frost King. Ruby may have a strong snarky attitude but she was just as caring and passionate when it came to people that mattered. I loved seeing Ruby’s growth throughout the book, because she certainly wasn’t the same girl that was captured by the King’s men.

Another main character is Arcus, the mysterious and secretive Frostblood that broke Ruby out of prison. As you all probably figured out by reading the synopsis, Arcus eventually becomes Ruby’s love interest. Man, oh man…the chemistry and tension between these two were off the chart! I loved the slow burning romance, it gave me goosebumps! My favorite scenes were without-a-doubt of Arcus and Ruby training together. However, the way Ruby acted towards the end is what kept this book from being 5 stars. While she may have been corrupted by Minax, I didn’t like how easily she dismissed her feelings for Arcus or how she can kiss one person one minute and jump to another guy the next. It was very off-putting in my opinion. But thankfully she ended up with the right person in the end!

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a great and engaging YA novel. Although Frostblood may have the usual tropes and was a little predictable at time (Arcus’s identity), I still found myself enjoying it immensely. Blake created a fantastic world and characters, enabling me to immerse myself into the story and escape reality for awhile. All the best books do. I highly recommend Frostblood for those that haven't read it yet, it was the perfect blend of romance and action. Fireblood, the second book in the trilogy comes out this year, how cool is that? We don’t have to wait a year! I am so stoked about it and can’t wait to jump back into the world of Frostbloods and Firebloods!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Portal Fantasy
Series: Wayward Children # 1

Hardcover, 173 pages
Publication: April 5, 2016 by

Source: Purchased


No Solicitations.No Visitors.No Guests.

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

I never knew there was a specific name for books where the characters traveled to a different world/dimension/realm, which has been dubbed Portal Fantasy. However, it’s not anything new. We’ve seen it in movies and literature alike from Alice in Wonderland, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to Harry Potter and Coraline. There’s an abundance of them. But what sets McGuire's novella apart from the previous novels mention is McGuire deals with the aftermath of the characters’ adventures and travels. Asking the question, what happens next? Readers get an inside look at these characters who were whisked away as children and returned as young adults adjusting to coming home/to reality; trying to normalize their lives when they never felt normalcy except in the worlds they escaped to as kids.

I don’t read novellas often but Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors (If you haven’t checked out her October Daye series yet, you’re seriously missing out!). And anything she writes is a must read for me. I get that novellas are short and you can only do so much in x-amount of pages; you have to have fleshed out characters, some sort of world building/concept and a plot. Despite the rave reviews for Every Heart a Doorway, this novella fell short on all three accounts. The characters weren’t fully developed and except for Jack and Jill; Nancy, our main protagonist and all of the other characters felt one dimensional. The world building was a unique idea but with the book being so short, McGuire could only set the foundation for it and didn’t really explore it further. And lastly, the plot was pretty generic and straightforward. A whodunit mystery. Someone is going around murdering the students and Nancy and her new friends are trying to figure out who the killer is. That’s basically the gist of it.

This book had its interesting moments but overall it didn’t meet my expectations. Although I didn’t enjoy Every Heart a Doorway as much as I wanted, the next book in this novella series (?) is centered around Jack and Jill and their time before they came to West’s Home for Wayward Children. Now that is something I’d read, plus they were the only characters I found intriguing. If you were planning on checking this novella out, I’d suggest borrowing it some way, some how. In my opinion it’s not worth purchasing.