ARC Review: Frostblood


Title: Frostblood

Author: Elly Blake

Series: Frostblood Saga, #1

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: January 12th 2017


Five Stars

The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light—until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable…and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men, she’s taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her—and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she’s spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

A shiver traced my spine. “What a terrible story.”
She nodded thoughtfully, a crease between her brows. “Affairs between fire and frost rarely end well.”

I received an ARC of this book in the July Fairy Loot box and after reading the blurb, which described Frostblood as perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and the Throne of Glass series, I knew it would become a book I’d quickly love as well. Luckily that proved to be more than true. Frostblood jumps right into the action, there’s no build up or development but that’s not to say the characters and setting aren’t developed perfectly as the plot commences.

Ruby is a Fireblood in a world where her kind have been hunted by the King to near extinction. Her mother has always told her to keep her gifts hidden but Ruby continues to practise in secret, until one night in the woods she hears the soldiers approaching her small village. With nowhere to run  and the villagers who Ruby has lived among her whole life outing her as a Fireblood Ruby watches her mother die and her village set aflame before being carted off to the King’s prison.

Five months later she escapes with the help of two mysterious Frostbloods, making a promise to help them with one task in exchange for her freedom once it’s completed.

“There is always light in darkness. It may only be a pinpoint, but it is there. Follow it and you will find your way free.”

In the weeks leading up to the summer solstice Ruby trains with the help of Brother Thistle and Arcus, trying to control and master her powers because while she has the strength needed to complete her task she doesn’t have any control or belief in her powers. Ruby thinks she is safe in the temple surrounded by the monks that make their home there, but there are people who aren’t happy with her presence there and who will do anything to see her back in prison where, as a Fireblood, she belongs.

Captured once again this time Ruby finds herself taken to the King himself, which may be where she needs to be to complete the task Brother Thistle and Arcus set before her but is a place where keeping herself alive long enough to attempt it is a bigger challenge than she thought.

…The Characters

“If we all had names to suit us, you’d be called Thorn in My Backside. Or Plague of the Gods.”
I prickled at his scathing tone. “And you’d be Miserable Blockhead.”

Ruby is a Fireblood and, despite being hunted simply for what she was born as, she still keeps trying to master her powers. However while she has the raw power she has very little control over it, and no one who can teach her in her small village. After the King and after her months in prison Ruby is desperate for revenge; in one swift blow he took away her mother and her home, and now she has nothing else left.

Impulsive, stubborn and free-willed Ruby seems determined to forge her own path but at the same time she understands why Brother Thistle and Arcus are training her. She butts heads with Arcus more often than not she listens to him when he is teaching her, until he gets under her skin and she lashes out with their her words or her powers. Ruby’s powers are not easy to master and she has a very limited time frame to gain control over them.

“You don’t know the effect your words have on me, Lady Firebrand. It took years to build up this ice. You will melt it and then I will be broken.”

Arcus is very closed off to the world and Ruby in particular, which is typical of most Frostbloods though not to the same degree. He keeps his emotions close to his chest and acts cold and standoffish around Ruby. The two of them are polar opposites, and not just because of their opposing powers, and because of that they clash more often than not. Ruby is stubborn and refuses to listen most times, whereas Arcus is controlled and guarded.

The relationship between Ruby and Arcus is full of tension and back and forth. As a Fireblood and a Frostblood the two are supposed to be mortal enemies but as an outcast from his own people Arcus isn’t exactly a typical Frostblood. Both of them have reasons to hate the other’s kind but as they get to know each other eventually Ruby starts to see beyond Arcus’s frosty exterior.

“And for the record, I already know how you feel about fire, so you don’t have to be mad that I’ve witnessed one of your weaknesses. We all have them, you know.”
He turned to look at me, his face completely expressionless. I tensed, waiting for a scathing response, but he mumbled something and looked away.
I must have misheard him. It almost sounded like he’d said, I fear you are becoming one of mine.

There are a few secondary characters and although they don’t take the centre stage the way Ruby and Arcus do they are still well developed. Everyone Ruby interacts with – be it the monks she lives with for months studying her powers, or the women in the King’s palace who either help or hinder her when she arrives there – have their own secrets, their own motivations, and their own personalities which shine through.

…The Setting

“After a week, we reached the rocky foothills of Mount Fors, broken by winding paths. The sun was low in the sky when the king’s castle came into view, perched like a ragged stalagmite on the mountaintop. To the west, streaks of molten gold and bloody purple floated in the air like radiant scarves thrown into the sky. One side of the castle was lit brilliantly, the sunset reflecting and refracting  off the ice in a dazzling display.”

There was a lot of amazing world building in this book; creating a whole new world, as well as the backgrounds to two groups with powers over the frost and fire, takes a lot of development but Elly Blake made it work in this book. There was a lot of history behind the war between the Frostbloods and the Firebloods; nothing definitive the way it never is when stories are all that have been handed down between the two groups, coloured by who is telling them. There are plenty of myths about the Gods and the way the powers came to be, and then there’s the world itself. It’s not a happy one; with frost covering most of the land it’s hard for people to eke out an existence, and that’s saying nothing of the soldiers the King sends out to terrorize the people and destroy their homes in search of Firebloods.

Frostblood is an amazing start to this new debut series by Elly Blake. I reckon it’s going to be an amazing series plenty of people love, and I am certainly looking forwards to the sequel’s release. There’s nothing about this book I didn’t love – the plot, the characters, the world building, the relationships – I can’t wait to see more of Ruby in the second book.

What did you think of Frostblood? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.

33 thoughts on “ARC Review: Frostblood

  1. Oh snap, sounds pretty fun with a deadly world-building! I like that there’s a mythos with Gods and stuff that is incorporated into the story. That ain’t easy to do, but by the sound of your review, this book does seem to have potential for a nice series run. 😀 Great review!

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a brilliant book, and a brilliant start to a new series as well. I wasn’t sure what I expected but it certainly wasn’t this and it ended up being fantastic as well! The information about the mythology and the Gods was a really nice touch, and well written too which is always a bonus isn’t it?
      Thanks so much Lashaan! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to hear that you enjoyed this one a lot, Beth. I’ve been pretty excited about it since I read the synopsis a while back but haven’t seen any reviews for it until now. I’m definitely going to have to make sure I get to it this year. Great world building and back story/history are some of my favorite qualities in fantasy. Also, I love the whole idea of the Frostbloods and Firebloods. I can see why they liken it to Red Queen, in a way, but I know the first book for Red Queen was more political and royal hierarchy than action whereas this one definitely seems more actiony. I hope I end up enjoying it as much as you did. Great review!! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah overall I thought it was an amazing book, a strong start to the series as well which is a definite plus. I think if this is a book you’ve been anticipating you’re sure to love it as well Melissa, the world-building especially was on point in Frostblood. I’m interested to see what it goes in the second book now.
      I didn’t really see many similarities between this book and Red Queen. I guess on one hand I can see why they compared the two but on the other they are very different stories. I definitely enjoyed this book a lot more than Red Queen though.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s always good when the start of a new series is strong. I’m even more excited about it and I’ll have to be sure to get my hands on a copy once it’s released. I need to make a shelf on my goodreads to keep up with all of these new releases 😂. I think the only similarity I really see between them is two people at war that are different. And even that isn’t all that similar considering only a small part of the reds in Red Queen have powers while the rest don’t and all of the silvers do. That’s probably why they compare it. If you enjoyed it more than Red Queen then I probably will too. Not that I didn’t like Red Queen but the sequel made me so mad and I’m holding out hope for the third book but if it does them same then I don’t know if I’ll finish that series.
        You’re welcome, Beth! 😊♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It gives me a lot of hope for the second book, and the rest of the series in general actually. I’ve already planned to get a copy once it’s released, and in hardcover as well so that alone should tell you how much I loved it! 😀 I may have to do the same, well actually I guess I need a GR account first don’t I?
        I guess looking back I can potentially see some similarities in the concepts of both books but honestly reading the actual story was a completely different experience from reading Red Queen, I didn’t notice any similarities but then again I wasn’t looking for them. I wasn’t much of a fan of either Red Queen or Glass Sword I’ll still read the third book but I’m not sure how much hope I have for it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes! You do lol. A few days ago when I was procrastinating on something for school I went on and did my 2017 TBR. 98 books so far… We’ll see if I actually manage to read them all. 🙈
        Yeah, it does seem like a completely different reading experience. More action for starters. I can’t wait to read it!
        As for the third Red Queen book I’ll definitely be going in with low expectations. Who knows? Maybe it will surprise me. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wow 98 books is a lot, I take it that’s not just books released in 2017 but books released in the years before as well right? I may try and do the same, create a TBR list at the start of the year and see how many I can tick off at the end.
        I can’t wait to see what you think of it then! 😀
        I’m gonna do the same thing. I don’t have high hopes but maybe that’ll help my case a little. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Nope, not just 2017 releases. It’s up to 100 now and I’m not letting myself add anymore 😂. There are a lot of series on it that I have yet to tackle but want to try to this year. Also quite a few contemporaries. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Nah didn’t think so. I’ll probably create a spreadsheet as well soon-ish. God knows how many I’ll have on my list and how many I’ll actually get around to this year as well.
        I should probably try and clear out the older books on my to-read list, and yeah there are definitely more than a few contemporaries on my list! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I actually didn’t have many expectations going into this book and I ended up really loving it! There was so much happening but the characters and the world were all well developed, it’s a great start to a new series. 🙂
      Thanks so much! ❤


      1. 🙂 Not wanting to put it down is always a good sign… That cover alone makes me want to read the book.. thanks for sharing your thoughts.. I shall keep the book in mind when I’m looking for something new and fresh to read 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t really enjoy Red Queen but I really loved this book. For me there weren’t any similarities but I guess it depends how you go into the book you know? I think if you read Frostblood looking for similarities you’ll find them, but from my POV nope, no similarities at all. It could just be the synopsis, there’s only so much you can say about a book before you start giving everything away. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am really anticipating this one! For some reason, I really like books that deal with elemental powers (Blame Avatar) so I am always on the lookout for something like this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg, I’m so glad you liked this book, then I know I will! Yours has a way prettier cover than mine, but I’m glad I got this one on Netgalley! I need to read it ASAP with your five star rating!! 😊
    Hope you are having a Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a brilliant book, one I’d highly recommend, especially to you Stephanie I think you’d really love this one! 😀
      Yeah that’s the UK cover, not the one on my ARC edition but the one I will be buying when this book is released in January.
      I can’t wait to see your review for Frostblood in that case. I’m glad you got approved for it and again I think you’ll really love it as well.
      Thanks, I hope you have an amazing new year as well and an even better 2017! 😀


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