“Affairs between frost and fire rarely end well”
“Face them all like a warrior, whether you are one or not”
This involves being in cahoots with an old priest who is an adept Frostblood mage and a ~mysterious~ and ~sexy~ hooded young man named Arcus. Arcus is, you guessed it, the romantic interest with the “hate-each-other-at-first-glimpse” trope. He’s a Frostblood, she’s a Fireblood, can I make it anymore obvious? Ruby trains her powers, learns she’s part of a super powerful prophecy, plots against the system, and tries to take down the man. It’s not an imaginative plot, it doesn’t have any twists, and frankly, I was bored most of the way through.
Frostblood features the following cliches in no particular order: dead families, lost princes, prophecies, unwelcome powers, rebellions, self-described plain girl puts on dress and becomes gorgeous, “forbidden” romance, wise man mentor, elemental magic, evil oppressive ruler, the lurking evil. That’s all off the top of my head! The only one it manages to avoid is the love triangle.
When reading Frostblood I was reminded of Red Queen, since they have reasonably similar plots: young impoverished and oppressed woman discovers that she has magical powers that are hated by the ruling class and joins a rebellion plot. This, of course, is a common plot ever since The Hunger Games and beyond. Which made me stop and think, would I have liked Frostblood more if I had read it, say, five years ago? Not really, I concluded. Ruby was bland as vanilla ice cream and her romance was worse.
“It took years to build up this ice. You will melt it and then I will be broken”
After that pretty scathing appraisal, what did I like? I liked Blake’s attempt to create a mythology for her universe, however steeped in cliches about light, dark, prophecies, and wise women it was. I also liked a character that popped up near the end, Marella a noblewoman at court, who is sneaky and conniving. I really wasn’t sure what the deal was with her; at one point I even thought she was making moves on Ruby, which could have added some spice to Frostblood! Also, the second half had some pretty decent fight scenes. This is Blake’s debut novel and I do genuinely sense some sort of raw potential there that perhaps experience and further writing can bring.
Overall, Frostblood was a cliched mess that I stumbled through with half-lidded eyes. There’s nothing particularly bad about it, it’s just so bland, so generic.