Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Series: Kanin Chronicles #1

frostfire -amanda hockingBryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who’s determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

4 Drink Me Potions

Before I started reading this book, I wondered if I had to have known a little bit about the Trylle series in order to understand the workings of this “world” Hocking has created. Fortunately, as a first time reader into the land of the Kanin and Trylle, it seemed understandable enough.

The world building
I think this was the most fascinating and probably my favourite part of the book. Initially, I saw huge parallels to the fantastical world that was created in Graceling. Even the sound of the blurb on the book made me think of it, one of my personal fantasy/adventure favourites. So Frostfire truly had something to live up to for me.

What broke away and made this world so unique to me was that it was still set in today’s modern world. Like, what? Magic and tribal wars…set in the woods in the prairie provinces of Canada? Kings and Queens ruling over rustic city capitals like Doldastam, which reminded me of the grand palace and city in Throne of Glass. It was the strangest idea, yet somehow it unfolded into such a delicious way to deliver central themes in the story.

I’m still kind of grasping at the amazing way Hocking managed to put this wonderful world and its history in a way that intertwined with modern day human society. Honestly. Mind blown.

The characters
I liked Bryn well enough. She was a tracker, someone who went out into the “human world” to bring back changelings, people of her kind that were put into the human world so they could get their trust fund from their host families before returning to Doldastam. She was independent and worked hard for her career. I just didn’t like her near-obsessive attitude towards her job sometimes. Like, talk about being consumed by it.

Family was an important aspect in the story too. Bryn worked with her father, the Chancellor or appointed voice of the people, as well as with the royals occasionally. That’s what drove her to hunt down the traitor who nearly killed her father prior to the story’s timeline. I liked that her parents were more than just very miniscule secondary characters, but that they actually had big roles to play.

And that brings me to the one aspect that I DID NOT like.

The romance….Wait, what romance?
Honestly. What romance? I was expecting some sort of forbidden love to actually DEVELOP. It was just Bryn discovering her feelings for Ridley. I liked him, I truly do. And of course, through their mild flirting, I’m sure he likes Bryn too.

But hello! Nothing REALLY happens. He’s dating another girl, and Bryn sure as heck doesn’t want to put anything in jeopardy with her career. She freaking flipped out on one of her best friends for getting pregnant and having to not work for a while. That was totally not her call to yell at her friend for “letting that [pregnancy] happen to her”.

Anyway, the sum of their forbidden romance in this story? One kiss. Whoop-dee-doo. And Bryn flips out (of course) and avoids confronting those feelings. Sighhh. I hope Ridley does something in Ice Kissed, aka book 2.

Oh, and even worse than the lack of romance? I smell a love triangle in the air. I absolutely abhor love triangles. I don’t find them necessary to prolong a trilogy and add drama to a relationship. But what’s even worse than that? The potential other suitor is most definitely NOT someone I’d approve of to move to that status. Sure, as the story progresses, it sounds like he’s more “complicated” than his initial portrayal, but hey! That doesn’t right everything he’s ever done.

Why do I get the feeling that he may win Bryn over Ridley? I may flip a table or two if that day comes. Just saying.

Last Thoughts
I loved the world building and the actual plot too much to let my disappointment in the romance department hurt my rating. There is a lot of potential for where this story is going. I do think that Amanda Hocking could’ve extended this story a little longer. She ended rather abruptly at a cliffhanger, but one that was only slightly built up to at the end. I didn’t really feel like a whole lot actually happened in Frostfire, strangely enough. The author just set the stage of her wonderfully-crafted world and threw in some tidbits of action. I can’t wait to see what happens next (with fingers crossed that it doesn’t break my heart or cause some table-throwing action).

Overall Recommendation:
On some level comparable to great titles like Graceling and Throne of Glass, Frostfire delivers a beautiful world of magic and royalty right smack in the present day world, located somewhere in the middle of Canada. Where it lacks heavily in the romance department (and oh boy, I mean heavily), hints of conspiracy and attacks on the children of the Kanin have left me anxiously awaiting for the next installment to the Kanin Chronicles. Hopefully, it’ll live up to expectations.

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