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.