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.
“Face them all like a warrior, whether you are one or not.”
Ruby has a secret. She’s a Fireblood—a person who has natural abilities to control fire–in a land dominated by frostbloods, a land where just being a fireblood is enough to get you, and everyone you know, killed. She finds this out right away in the first chapter where her natural ability gets her mother brutally murdered, her village burned to the ground, and herself thrown into prison to await execution.
But before she can be killed, the frosty Arcus comes to take her to live with him and a group of monks, to help stage a rebellion, and kill the evil frostblood king. There, she has only a short amount of time to train and transform from a scared, uncontrollable girl, to a fierce warrior capable of what she’s being asked to do.
This book was not a particularly original book. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, a book that it seems like most people like, but I don’t. If you liked that book, this one will probably appeal to you, but it just wasn’t helping for me. I also drew similarities to Shatter Me, Hunger Games, and a few other books. This book has been done before; however, that’s not to say it isn’t a good thing. There’s a reason people like those books!
There were times when Ruby got on my nerves because she was so completely blinded by her hatred and need for personal vengeance to see the bigger picture—you’re not the center of the universe! And for a while it seemed like there was a love triangle forming, and I really didn’t like how she went about that.
She did exhibit character growth throughout the story though, and since this is the first book of a trilogy, I think that there’s room for lots more growth. She is in no way perfect, but she was still very strong (physically and emotionally) for the horrible, horrible situation she was forced into. Especially since she goes through such internal turmoil. She is in no way just a warrior who fights others; a large part of the story is about her just discovering who she is.
Her love interest, Arcus, was absolutely swoon worthy! He was so completely mysterious with his secrets, and the entire time I just kept forming theories and new theories and new theories. The romance was, in fact, one of my favorite parts of this book. I thought that Arcus and Ruby were perfect for each other, and I loved how he wasn’t afraid to push her to be better.
The supporting characters were strong and unique as well. In the beginning we are introduced to a plethora of monks, and they are not characterized by who they are. We get several different personalities, and they were (for the most part) probably my favorite characters in the story! Things get more deceptive and secretive in the castle later on, and it’s remarkable how secrets come together at the end.
The world building in Frostblood was one of the best parts. Rather than just accepting the existence of the frost and fire bloods, we are given a large backstory, revealed in chunks, which even breaks into mythology (I love!). And although at first it seems like another book about just fire and frost, it soon becomes apparent that there are other mythological components/powers/people.
The action/fighting, both externally and internally, was an integral part of the book. I really liked reading about how fire and frost combated each other, since they are such polar opposites. Blake’s writing was beautiful and descriptive, especially with the stressful arena fighting, and the even more suspenseful climax.
I absolutely loved the beginning of this book. However, I was really disappointed by the middle, and felt more like I was just trudging through another book I had read before for a while. The ending was dramatic, suspenseful, and faster paced, coupled with a twist, and managed to redeem itself partly.
Overall, I thought this was a solid, good book. There were many things I didn’t like, but they didn’t overshadow the intriguing storyline and beautiful writing. Although Frostblood will not be making any lists of favorites, I enjoyed the read.
3.5 out of 5 frosty white stars
You can also read my review on Goodreads.