Featured Review: Tears of Frost (Bree Barton)
About This Book:
This captivating second book in Bree Barton’s Heart of Thorns trilogy deftly explores the effects of power in a dark magical kingdom—and the fierce courage it takes to claim your body as your own. This feminist teen fantasy is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo.
Mia Rose is back from the dead. Her memories are hazy, her body numb—but she won’t stop searching. Her only hope to save the boy she loves and the sister who destroyed her is to find the mother she can never forgive.
After her mother’s betrayal, Pilar is on a hunt of her own—to seek out the only person who can exact revenge. All goes according to plan until she collides with Prince Quin, the boy whose sister she killed.
As Mia, Pilar, and Quin forge dangerous new alliances, they are bewitched by the snow kingdom’s promise of freedom…but nothing is as it seems under the kingdom’s glimmering ice.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
TEARS OF FROST is an action-packed and dark fantasy sequel to HEART OF THORNS. Whereas we only followed Mia in the first book, we now follow both Mia and Pilar in this sequel. Both are heading on separate paths to the winter kingdom of Luumia. While the first book took place in the river kingdom, which was largely dealing with the oppression of women, this book transports us to a kingdom (or queendom) that has a major problem with colonization, the suppression of indigenous cultures, and cultural appropriation. Luumia was colonized and the culture and indigenous peoples living there suppressed. The holidays and their traditions have turned into glossy veneers without the meanings they held to the people who celebrated them.
Mia and Pilar are traveling separately on their own quests. Mia had broken the second law and the consequences she faces in this book is that she is unable to feel or taste, and she is seeking the feeling of being alive. Pilar carries the heavy weight of her abusive past and guilt of what she has allowed to happen with her mother. She is refusing to use magic and grieving all the things she has lost and what she has become. Each is on a journey, both physically and emotionally, for themselves and for the country they left behind.
What I loved: The themes in this book and other king/queendom are really intriguing, and I appreciated the inclusion of new thought-provoking plots with the colonization and suppression of indigenous peoples. This book was much grittier and even darker than the first, and it seemed faster-paced. I really liked the dual perspectives of Pilar and Mia, and I felt that getting Pilar's perspectives as well enriched the story and made her character more three-dimensional. I also appreciated the twists and turns that happen in this story, particularly as I did not see many of them coming.
What left me wanting more: As a small point, the perspectives on colonization are limited because they are generally restricted without the inclusion of a perspective directly from the indigenous peoples, and it remained a background theme. The romance shifts felt a bit awkward, and I had a hard time cheering for the new couples that arise in this book, especially given the strengths of the bonds forged in the first book.
Final verdict: TEARS OF FROST is a dark and gritty YA fantasy that tackles some important themes of oppression/suppression. This sequel is action-packed and introduces new characters and scenarios that add to this intriguing world.
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