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review 2017-11-02 15:20
Review: Fireblood
Fireblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This is one of those delightful fantasy series that the plot twists are actually pretty ridiculous and kind of laughable, but it’s just SO GOOD you can overlook how silly it really is because it’s so exceptionally well written and the characters are excellent. Definitely one of my favourite fantasy series of this year.

 

Review contains spoilers for the first book.

 

Picking up shortly after where the first book ended, Arcus is now King of the Frostbloods and Ruby is now a Lady living in his court. She still has the hideous Minax monster hiding in her mind and is on a quest to figure out how to destroy it. Her friend from the first book, Lady Marella is helping her with court etiquette. Despite the fact that the Frostblood curse and throne is gone, and the evil king Rasmus along with it, not all the nobles are over joyed with the changes Arcus wants to implement, giving the regular people more fair trade terms for farmers and such. And treat the Firebloods better. Ruby is still met with scorn and suspicion. But she handles it a lot better.

(spoiler show)

 

She’s definitely got a spark and attitude and a delightful snarky manor about her, given everything Ruby went through in the first book, she’s an incredibly strong and well-adjusted character and is definitely (in this reader’s opinion) entitled to her moments of moaning and temper. She’s smart enough to know and understand that everything isn’t going to go smoothly.

 

During a fancy ball, after an assassination attempt Ruby makes the acquaintance of a strange but handsome boy Kai, who has an interesting offer for her. He’s a Fireblood like her and can take her to the Fireblood island to meet with the Fireblood Queen. One of the new ideas Arcus is after is a peace treaty between the Fireblood lands and the Frostblood lands. The Queen didn’t respond to his invitations to the ball and talks. Ruby figures if she takes Kai up on his offer then she can be the emissary for peace talks. And she’s also learned that the book she needs to destroy the Minax in the library at the Fireblood palace. So another reason to go.

(spoiler show)

 

Of course there is naturally some suspicion there. Wouldn’t be that simple. (And of course if everything went according to the plan there wouldn’t be much of a book.) There’s a lot of arguing between Ruby and Arcus on this point which makes a lot of sense if you think about it. There’s not a lot of information on who Kai is, or if he’s really who he SAYS he is. Or what he’s really doing there. Is she just going to blindly trust him and believe what he says? You can understand Arcus’s reasons against it.

 

 

 

At the same time Ruby has the chance to learn more about her own people and her own powers, she’ll be with others the same as herself – Firebloods. You can understand as well why Ruby wants to see the Fireblood lands. It’s a well reasoned argument with good points from both sides, made more frustrating by the deep attraction and the love that the two have for each other. And it’s almost painful to read about for the two of them clearly care deeply for each other but both are damned stubborn.

 

So Ruby heads off for the Firebloods lands across the sea. Where she’s met with some disturbing home truths about how the Fireblood Queen really is. Kai of course has kept his own secrets and reasons for bringing Ruby to the island. She’s pissed, naturally, but that doesn’t stop the fantastic bantery flirting between the two of them. Leading to internal conflict inside Ruby because she still has strong feelings for Arcus. <

(spoiler show)

 

Ruby has to take trails to become a Master before she can get access to the information she needs. And nothing goes according to plan. As the training increases and the tests she has to pass become more and more difficult, she’s hit bit a number of startling revelations about who she really is and who her own deceased mother was.

 

The twists are a bit silly to be perfectly honest, but like I said earlier, this is such a brilliantly written book, the daftness of the plot which can be eye rolling at times, doesn’t particularly matter because it’s so much fun to read. Left at a cliffhanger (of course) for the final instalment. Which I am really looking forward to.

 

This is a fantastic series I can’t recommend enough. I’ve already pre ordered the last book.

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review 2017-02-13 11:41
Review: Frostblood
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Initially I went into this one not knowing much about it. It was a bit of coverlust, really. Though rereading the blurb when my Netgalley request was approved it sounded like a generic YA fantasy, also sounding a bit too much like Red Queen (which I really didn’t like) though Frostblood wound up really surprising me. I didn’t quite finish it before it came out, but before I was half way through I purchased a finished copy.

 

The main character Ruby lives in a world of ice ruled by Frostbloods who are cruel and vicious. Ruby has a special power of her own, she can create and manipulate fire – she’s a Fireblood. Firebloods are hunted down by Frostbloods and either killed or imprisoned. There’s a big dramatic history between the two factions of why things are the way they are which is revealed as the novel progresses.

 

Sounds a bit generic, but the world building is surprisingly in depth with well thought out mythology and history and works well with the plot. Ruby is captured by Frostblood soldiers after an attack on the village near her home which results in a personal tragedy for her, driving her need for revenge. Rescued by local monks Ruby is given an opportunity to help them bring down the Frostblood king.

 

Not all the monks are happy to have Ruby with them – she is unpredictable, can’t control her powers and a dangerous liability. Ruby has to train to master her ability. With the help of Arcus, who comes across as one of the monks less than pleased to have her there. He’s mysterious, and quite rude and obnoxious. He and Ruby rub each other the wrong way. It’s kind of obvious immediately where it’s going but it’s delightfully shippy, and quite fun to get into their training and snide back and forths with snarking at each other. (I did find myself wanting to shove them together and yell JUST KISS ALREADY! As they sort out their true feelings for each other).

 

Ruby has her doubts about what she’s got to do, and learns a few things that she’s unsure about. There’s of course a prophecy involved, a few twisty setbacks, and one big ass plot twist towards the end that was really good and completely unexpected when the truth of Arcus’s real identity and his intentions are revealed.

 

Despite the fact that the plot is nothing that hasn’t been done before, the novel is exceptionally well written, the characters are all interesting and well fleshed out, a mix of good guys, bad guys and one or two you’re not quite sure about. Good solid world building with an interesting history and its own belief system of gods and goddesses which work well within the plot and ties up nicely.

 

A lot of fun. I have already pre ordered the sequel, and am really looking forward to more from this series.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-01-14 18:06
Frostblood
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

From time to time I always enjoy looking for a new YA series to start. I received an email from Netgalley about this book and it interested me so much that I thought it would be the next YA series that I'd try. I really enjoyed this through most of the book but for me the events towards the end of the book really lessened my enjoyment. In fact the ending seemed so wrapped up to me that I don't see how or why this would continue as a series.

 

Ruby was a really good character to follow and I enjoyed reading about her. I liked that her eventual romance with Arcus did not overwhelm the plot. She was going to get her revenge and nothing was going to stop her.

 

Ruby was definitely the bright spot of this book but events towards the end just left me a bit bored. Everything just works out too easily and everything is pretty much wrapped up at the end. I will not be continuing on with this series unfortunately.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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review 2017-01-10 00:00
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga)
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I really enjoyed this book. I am actually quite surprised by how much I ended up liking it. When I decided to read this book, I wasn't really sure if it was my kind of book. I found out pretty quickly that it was in fact my kind of book. It was an incredibly exciting story set in a interesting world. I am so glad that I decided to read this book.

This book started out really strong. When we first meet Ruby, we learn that she is a Fireblood and that she has been hiding that fact from others for her entire life. Being a Fireblood is dangerous where she lives because they usually don't live for very long after discovery. Ruby has never had an opportunity to really learn how to use her gift or to even test the strength of her power.

I liked Ruby almost immediately. She starts the story out in such an impossible situation and quickly proves to be a survivor. As the story moved forward, there were times that I thought I liked her a bit less. Some of her actions while at the monastery seemed a bit immature at times but she is a seventeen year old in a horrible situation so I think it was justified. By the end of the book, I absolutely loved her. She proved to be incredibly brave and had an amazing strength to her character.

Ruby wasn't the only great character in this story. Arcus was awesome. He always seemed to have a much larger story to tell and I enjoyed his quiet strength. The Brothers at the monastery were great and there were even a few people at the king's court that seemed like they might actually want to help Ruby.

I really enjoyed the way that the story was written. My interest was captured from the very beginning. The pace of the story did slow down a bit during much of the first part of the story but that was where we learned about the world and Ruby's abilities. Once the second half of the book started, I couldn't put the book down. Everything I thought would happend didn't and I wasn't sure how things would work out in the end. I also really appreciated the fact that even though this book is the first of a new series, it came to a nice conclusion.

I would highly recommend this book to others. It is a fantastic story that is filled with excitement. I am really very excited about the fact that this is the beginning of a new series. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series just as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this book. It started out good but by the end I was completely hooked.
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review 2017-01-09 05:12
Frostblood will heat your desire for more awesome fantasy!
Frostblood (The Frostblood Saga) - Elly Blake

When Ruby is captured and sent to prison for being a Fireblood in a land ruled by Frostbloods, she is unexpectedly rescued by a group of monks who want to use her to challenge the rule of the current Frostblood king. But Ruby will first have to master her uncontrollable pyromancy if she’s to stand a chance against the might of the king.

I thought Ruby was a really cool character. I liked riding around in her head for the most part – there was a few situations near the beginning of the book and right near the end where I seriously questioned her judgement, but overall she was a hard worker and as a teenager she’s allowed to be confused about what she wants in life. I’m kind of obsessed with elemental magic so I loved the dichotomy between Firebloods and Frostbloods: their appearance, their personalities, their cultures and customs. It was bleedingly obvious from the start that Arcus would turn into a love interest (because two young people + lots of time together to get to know each other = love), but it certainly wasn’t insta-love between the two. The author really put a lot of effort into moving the relationship forward into mutual admiration, respect, like, affection and then love. I totally bought it, and I love relationships where the couple don’t get along at first.

I really didn’t expect the plot to go where it went, but I did like the build up during Ruby’s training and I knew it had to go somewhere eventually. I think the addition of the arena scenes was a flash of inspiration and I enjoyed how long Ruby took to heal from her wounds. The only issue I had was near the end when her relationship with the king started getting icky and reminiscent of Warner from Shatter Me – and yes, I do realise that heaps of female readers think Warner is hot and desirable even though he sexually assaults Juliette. I think I am firmly on Team Arcus, if the author was trying to create ‘team’s, and the whole issue with the king just really made me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t like it when girls think being assaulted is sexy.

I found the pacing to be fine thoughout the novel. Even the part that I guess you could call boring or slow, which was Ruby’s training at the abbey, was enjoyable to read because of the sexual tension between her and Arcus, and Ruby learning to call the other monks family. What I didn’t really get the point of was the sequence where Ruby escaped, healed a sick little girl, and returned to the abbey. It had no relation to the rest of the plot except to show that she’d changed her mind about being used as a weapon to murder the king, which she already wanted to do in the first place.

I thoroughly enjoyed Frostblood. It really combined a lot of elements (ba-dump-ching!) that appeal to me. Elemental magic, strong teen girls, hot warrior love interests, royal scandals, and well-written action scenes that don’t leave our characters unscarred.

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