Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.
Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating--yet irresistible--Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete 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.
Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is the first in an exhilarating series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies...but together create a power that could change everything.
Ruby wants to kill the King who ordered the raid on her town, the soldiers who killed her mother. But stuck in prison chained to the floor and constantly being doused in foul, cold water, it's surprising she's even still alive by the time Arcus and the Monks break her out. Strong willed and terrified they wish to harm her, she allows them to heal her before she makes her move to escape them. She learns of the King's horrible actions, the raids on villages like hers that left people scrambling through the forests for shelter and security. Ruby was strong, listening to what she was taught and trying her best to be what they need her to be before her task can have some semblance of success. But she also had a hard time accepting her faults. Not her physical ones; she knew very well that she sucks with a sword. But she couldn't admit to herself that perhaps practising her gift, the one that she knew people hunted, is what caused those soldiers to enter her village in the first place. She was brave, intelligent, and fighting for survival. She was also a teenaged girl who lashed out when people said hurtful things even if she knew they were only saying them to goad her.
Arcus on the other hand was cold, cruel, and rarely said anything personal. Yes he would say harsh things to fuel her anger so she could gain better control over her fire, but it was evident that the cold in him was not just his gift. He thought her weak and stupid, unworthy of his time. He couldn't stand being near her and her fire. And yet not long after he started teasing her, smiling and laughing, showing that he does feel and quite easily too. Countless times we were told that Frostbloods have issues with expressing their emotions. But honestly, Arcus has no issue expressing his emotions after a few days. The change was so abrupt that he didn't seem like the same character, not really anyway. He would lose his temper, and compliment Ruby's singing and tell her it made him feel better. He was a good character, but inconsistent. Cold and unable to feel, to raging ice, to 'I don't know if I can let you go'. And then suddenly he is announcing a very important detail that while not all that shocking, doesn't seem to fir with his character. He would go right into danger? Goad some not so good people? Cause so much chaos and death? He kept flashing through personalities, and each time he came into focus he would be someone new. I'm not sure if his character was merely used for the development of Ruby's, or if the author just wasn't sure how she wanted to portray him.
As for the romance, it was predictable, instant, and not compelling at all. I would have been more invested if they were best friends instead. I will admit however, that I would not be opposed to this romance if there had been more of a build up, a slow breaking of walls and a connection that kept them close, friends and confidants, before ever thinking about how the other tastes or feels.
I did enjoy the training however. I liked how it wasn't simply about physical strength, but mental as well. Ruby had to practice with mind and body, sensing and feeling, knowledge and instinct. It was intriguing and I enjoyed those lessons. I do find however, that instead of building on character bonds (which developed but behind the scenes), the author focused more on the romance and Ruby's revenge. Which was fine, for the latter. I enjoyed how she spoke her mind, said things to the King that no other would, that even when fearful she would not allow him to take away her anger and her words.
The plot was very interesting. At times predictable, but still twists found their way in and I enjoyed the trials and the fights. Much like the Throne of Glass series, where the King wants people to compete in an area of sorts to be his champion and for the public's pleasure, Frostblood had a fair share of trickery and magic. And I love Sarah J. Maas so I was quite entertained by the matches, the struggle Ruby had to go through. Each match took from Ruby, and how she reacted said a lot about her character.
Overall, Frostblood is a great start to the series and I plan to read the sequel!
Eventually, she is freed by two frostbloods who want her help. The very nature of frostbloods and firebloods has them at odds, and although she is reluctant to help, she finds that these frostbloods are on a mission that aligns with hers- the death of the cruel and violent king. Ruby is a strong character with a good heart- she really just wants to be a healer like her mother. She is courageous and filled with every type of fire one could imagine- passion, short-tempered, witty. The story is told from her point of view, and she is a fantastic character from whom to learn about the kingdom and the mythical history of the gods and the powers bestowed.
As firebloods have been hunted and exterminated, Ruby has never learned to tame or use her skills. The first part of the book is her training with the frostbloods, whose skills were trained. Although they seem like their skills would be at odds, they are similar in many ways. Her time at the monastery is somewhat quiet and relatively uneventful/slower paced, set at odds with the second part/half of the book which is full of danger and much faster paced, taking place in the palace. In this way, it felt reminiscent of several different types of fantasy novels, and I absolutely adored the combination. However, I was unable to put down the book during the second half and caught myself reading even when I shouldn’t be- the action is so intense and constant that there isn’t a single good place to put it down during the second part. Be forewarned, and I mean that in the best way- you’ll want to keep reading/need uninterrupted time for this gem of a book.
The book was, in many ways, very predictable, e.g. her romance was easy to predict (which doesn’t mean that I didn’t love every second of it) as well as the true identities of some main characters (which I won’t give away so as to avoid spoilers). However, despite the ability to guess at events or some of the mysteries, the book was fantastic to read and the journey was incredible. I am not sure I can calm down my gushing enough to adequately express how very much I adored this book! I am already ready to reread it and enjoy the build of the romance and Ruby’s personal growth all over again. I am beyond thrilled to learn that this is part of a series, so I can continue with this wonderful world and characters, but so sad that I don’t yet have the next book. As a note, if you hate cliffhangers, you are in luck! This book does have closure and does not have a cliffhanger. However, the ending is not final and you can definitely see the room and potential for the rest of the series.
Overall, this was a really fantastic read, and it is definitely shooting to the top of my favorites. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are entirely my own.
The beginning of this story really drew me in. I pretty much loved it until about 40% through and then I found some issues with Ruby. She couldn't seem to make up her mind to be strong, smart, and powerful, or completely rebellious, throwing tantrums, and swooning over a guy. She also just didn't seem to fit her background with a kind, patient mother, and growing up on the outskirts of a small town. Her conflicting actions and feelings became a theme after this point that made me a little frustrated. She hated her role one second and completely believed in it in the next. She hated Arcus one minute and loved him the next. She hated the king one second and gave into him the next. Then somehow she was strong and fierce in battle and then would switch to grovelling, depressed, and weak. I just wanted her to figure things out or decide and then stick with it. Then there was the romance that felt a little off to me and completely took over the story in parts. I think if I had trusted Ruby's character more and she felt more authentic or reliable then other things would have also felt more authentic and fell into place.
I actually really liked Arcus and felt like his character was consistent. There were other parts of the story I really liked as well, such as pitting fire against ice and the folklore that set the stage for the world building. I also got the aspect regarding the king, the corrupt throne, and the king's champions who fight. Overall, this one was half hit and half miss for me.
In the end, was it what I wished for? I had such high hopes for this and loved about half of it and was frustrated with the other half. Those who don't have my issues with Ruby will like this quite a bit more than I did, but I wanted more consistency and more development.
Content: Some violence and suggestive content.
Source: Received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley, which did not require a review nor affect it in any way.
- Action-packed in parts
- Endearing characters
- Dashing hero
- Sweet romance
- Intriguing fantasy world