Monday, January 9, 2017

#Monday Review - Frostblood by Elly Blake #YALit #Fantasy @elly_blake @lbkids

Series: Frostblood Saga # 1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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.
Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

Frostblood is the first installment in author Elly Blake's Frostblood Saga. 17-year old Ruby is quite possibly the last living Fireblood in Otrera thanks the King's hatred & desire to exterminate her kind. But, her own mother kept her from exploring her abilities for fear of discovery, when she should have been learning how to use, and control her gift. After being betrayed by villagers, Ruby watches as her mother is killed by the King's men. Ruby is then captured & taken to a place where she is prevented from using her abilities. 

5 months later, Ruby is rescued by a pair of Frostbloods who believe she can help them bring down the King. They truly believe that Ruby may be the answer to their prayers. One of her rescuers is Arcus, a man of many mysteries, including why he covers his face, why he has a scar on his face, and why he is so desperate for Ruby's help. He and Brother Thistle take her to an abbey where Ruby learns an about an organization called Order of Fors. Since there are no more Fireblood Masters, Arcus and Thistle begin an intense regimen of training.

Have to say that Ruby does have some issues. She's quick tempered, hard-headed, but she's just the way I love characters to be. Because of her isolation from society, she's an unknown to almost everyone. She struggles to handle her powers which have been restrained for too long. She makes puzzling decisions which lead to bad consequences. She's also not the next coming of Celaena Sardothien, but she does have the same desire for revenge & the power within her to seek out revenge against those who have taken everything away from her. 

With Arcus and Ruby constantly going after each other's throats, you would think that I would have had the urge to move on to something else. But, again I swear I have the patience of a Saint. The two have so much turmoil between them, and Arcus is so damn cold most of the time, that you want to slap them both silly. Yet, if you look deeper into Arcus's background, and what he went through, you can move forward without hesitation. Unfortunately for Ruby, training is interrupted by betrayal within the ranks of the Monks which leads to Ruby's re-capture.

She is brought before King Akur who would love to see every last Fireblood bleeding out in front of him. Instead, he is encouraged to send Ruby to face the best of the best in an arena where only the strongest walk out alive. Ruby's trials lead to even more revelation about the darkness that holds the King in its sway, and Ruby's own darkness within that keeps her alive against some pretty powerful enemies. There is something about Ruby that ends up intriguing the King. The more time Ruby stays alive, the more encouraged he is that Ruby may be the answer to the prophecy which hangs over the Kingdom.

Frostblood starts out on a high note, then slowly burns its way towards the second half of the book where Ruby must face all sorts of odds against her survival. The relationship between Ruby and Arcus is not an easy one to read about at times. She doesn't trust that easily. He thinks she may be the savior he is looking for, but still treats her as though she is the enemy. One can sort through the anger & the banter to get to the point where Arcus isn't a bad person, he's just been through a whole lot that weighs heavily on his psyche. One can definitely say that sparks fly, and opposites do attract.

Author Elly Blake has created her own mythology for this series. There are Four Gods who are important and the reason why is pretty clear. The god of the North Wind (Fors) created the Frostbloods, while the Goddess of the South (Sud) created the Firebloods. There are also Gods of the East (Eurus) and West (Cirrus) which are talked about a great deal, but are really just backdrops to war that has been brewing for years between Frostbloods and Firebloods. I am not one of those who likes to compare books to other series. I love reading Fantasy novels no matter if they are the same tried and tested formula as others have taken. So, on that point I will close my review by saying that I enjoyed this first story in the trilogy and will keep my eye opened for the sequel to see where Blake takes her characters from here.

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