*Full Review Update* (Spoiler free)
So this wasn’t a bad read. I think some will really enjoy it. I just wanted SO badly to be invested, and it just kept falling short for me.
Yes, it has cliche’s and tropes and feels very typical YA – but honestly those don’t bother me if they are done well enough or if there is some kind of emotional connection. Unfortunately I just didn’t ever feel ‘that into it.’
We start off with Ruby (a fireblood, how fitting) practicing her fire magic which is of course, illegal. Well firebloods are illegal as the kingdom is ruled by the Frost King and she’s clearly a threat. Anyway, (as told in the summary) – she’s captured and forced to play in the King’s tournament. But don’t be deceived – a big chunk of the plot is actually elsewhere from that. Most of the book (or what felt like it) was literally Ruby being trained by monks. I dunno, it just got a bit bland. Though Arcus is there- a mysterious dude in *gasps* a mask, and very few know who he actually is or why he wears a mask. So, there’s that bit of intrigue I guess. But he didn’t have enough personality for me to feel excited over him.
Anyway, I won’t say much more about the plot in order to hopefully spare the few surprises there are. The ending did get a little more interesting. One character… well it kinda felt like Elly was trying to give him ‘Darkling’ status. But that fell flat for me too. Honestly I wish the story had developed that part of it more. I wish the last 30% started earlier and drawn out those struggles and such way earlier in the book. I just love me a well developed/intense villain.
I think I just needed more from the characters. More personality… struggle… something. I pretty much read only fantasy these days and I see a lot of repeat characters (which again, doesn’t bother me if they are developed enough). Ruby just felt like a typical YA heroine (and okay – she did have some pain and struggles so I’m not meaning that – but she just felt a little bland.) Arcus was your typical brooding male with a perfect bod and slightly disturbed (though I appreciated his… err… whats on his face.)
Unfortunately I wasn’t too impressed with the writing either. It just felt kinda middle grade and the descriptions were meh. Some of the concepts were cool though! While the magic was your typical fire/ice – the way Elly described some of the abilities was really cool.
Gosh, I hate to be so negative. This really wasn’t a bad book. I just wanted more. Lovers of light YA fantasy will probably enjoy this.