Mini-reviews: Frostblood + After the Fall

pub 1/10/17 by Little, Brown
Booksfor Young Readers
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received ARC from pub
I read a lot of fantasy in 2016 and unsurprisingly, all the usuals (I'm looking at you Sarah and Leigh!) got five stars from me. Want to know how many new fantasies got that high of a rating in my book? One. Frostblood. So I'm excited to be finally sharing my thoughts on it. The heroine is seventeen-year-old Ruby, a fireblood who must hide her powers because her kind are being persecuted by the frostbloods ruling their kingdom. When her mother is killed in front of her, it sets Ruby on a path of joining forces with rebel frostbloods, who want her help taking down the king and end up showing her how to control her abilities. Naturally, the rebels and Ruby do this grudgingly, especially a young man named Arcus who Ruby clashes with. In other words, has amazing chemistry with. What I loved about Ruby was that she wanted to embrace her identity. She's a fighter and survivor but also compassionate. Then the romance! It's slow-burning and filled with snark, banter and tension, which you know is my favorite kind. I loved Arcus just as much as Ruby and he had a compelling story of his own too.

I just thought the writing and plot was top-notch. Even though the whole fire versus ice thing is a familiar fantasy trope, I truly loved the author's spin on it. It's slightly light on the world-building side but the pacing was fast and focused on the characters which I personally much prefer.

Do I recommend? Definitely! I was really impressed with Elly Blake's debut (I pre-ordered it right after I finished) and I can't wait to see where she takes the rest of the series.

pub 1/24/17 by Farrar,
Straus and Giroux
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub
I have to get this off my chest first – the main character's name is spelt Raychel and it drove me crazy. It just looks wrong!

Names aside, the book itself wasn't what I expected. I knew it would be complicated but then it got to soap opera levels of drama. We meet Raychel, whose difficult home life has led her to be taken under the wing of a family with two sons, Matt and Andrew. Matt is her best friend, who for all his support and good intentions, doesn't really get her. But his brother Andrew surprisingly does and she gets into a secret relationship with him. Now, I don't mind a love triangle if it's done well but everything just felt too sudden and left field for me to connect to it. Then, on top of that, Raychel is also dealing with a classmate who assaulted her. I thought this part of the novel was particularly strong – at first – because the author approaches the topic honestly as she explores Raychel's feelings of confusion in the aftermath. It brought up open conversations with the people in her life that were very thought-provoking. But then the ball gets dropped in favor of the romance. I really wish the author had continued on this track because it was the most compelling part of the entire story.

Do I recommend? It wasn't for me. While some parts were well-written and the writing engaging enough, I didn't like the overall story and the path it took.


  1. I'm really looking forward to reading Frostblood! It sounds like a lot of fun, and I've definitely got high expectations after seeing you gush about it :)

  2. I'd been going back and forth about picking up Frostblood, but reading your review is pushing me more toward it... it sounds like a fun read!

  3. Frostblood sounds really good, hmmm, going to have to throw that one on my TBR. :)

  4. I am glad that Frost Blood was good. I have a copy that I will be reading soon. Great reviews!
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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