Unless you have been living in Outer Mongolia, no doubt you will have heard talk of a popular little animated movie called Frozen.
Cleverly jumping on the bandwagon, Elly Blake has a ready-made audience for her new, YA series, Frostblood. Ramping up the raunch factor and adding some gladiator action, it is time for Frozen fans of the past to grow up.
Ruby (or Elsa), has spent all her 17 years attempting to suppress her powers for creating fire, she lives in a world ruled by the cold-blooded Frost King. Firebloods are considered to be dangerous, filthy traitors to the throne, and have been hunted down and killed. Inevitably, Ruby and her hot fingers give themselves away, the Frost Soldiers are soon raiding her village and stop at nothing to get their fireling.
Naturally there is help, which comes in the form of a darling fraternity of monks, who despite worshipping the frost have a mission of their own, and believe Ruby might just have what they need to overthrow the King.
Ruby is infuriatingly bland at times; her stubborn behaviour is predictable, and she doesn’t have any oomph. It’s understandable that her shouty, strong, brooding mentor Arcus wants to dump her in water troughs so often.
There are a few little surprises in store as you read deeper – some you may see a mile away, and admittedly they are a bit formulaic. Blake has a smooth, relaxed style of writing, and manages to keep things quite chilled (no pun intended) in part one. With masterful visualisation, this is great preparation for part two.