Author: Elly Blake
Series: Frostblood Saga, #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: September 7th 2017
In this action-packed sequel to Frostblood, the future of Ruby’s world and a court ruled by the love of her life depends on the uncovered secrets of her past. Perfect for fans of Red Queen and Throne of Glass.
“With a fierce and vibrant world, richly-drawn characters, a steamy romance, and page-turning twists, Frostblood has all the elements of a great fantasy.” – Morgan Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen Kingdom series.
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past…
Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax—which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After her defeat of the Frostblood King Ruby now stands at Arcus’s side as he tried to bring peace between the Frostbloods and the Firebloods. Ruby doesn’t belong in the Frostblood court, despite all she did to bring an end to Rasmus’s cruelty and the curse placed on the Frostblood throne she’s still seen as an enemy by many of the people Arcus needs the support of.
However as well as battling the court’s opinion of her, and trying to bring about peace with Rasmus’s massacres still between the Frostbloods and the Firebloods , Ruby needs to stop the Minax she let out of the Frostblood throne and into the world. Free to hunt the people of Tempesia the only thing Brother Thistle has discovered that can stop it is its twin, still trapped in the Fireblood throne. After a failed assassination attempt Ruby knows she needs to travel to Sudesia and take the trials that will make her a Fireblood master in the hopes of finding something that can stop the Minax.
Ruby is putting her trust in Kai, a Fireblood ambassador she met, despite the hesitancy of Arcus and when she steps foot in Sudesia she realises what she is up against. The queen is distrustful of her and hateful towards the Frostbloods, the book she needs to stop the Minax is under lock and key and the trials most people prepare their lives for are ones she will be taking in only a week’s time. If Ruby succeeds she could have the key to defeating the Minax and a place she can call home for the first time since her mother died. If she fails, it could mean worse than simply her death.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, and as much as I liked the second book I do feel it suffered a little from ‘second book syndrome’. Most of Frostblood was Ruby learning to control and harness her powers under the tutelage of Arcus and Brother Thistle, in Fireblood it felt like the same story only it was Kai teaching Ruby to master her powers. There was action and intrigue as Ruby navigates a new country and learns who to trust, but the main tension in the plot didn’t seem to happen until too late.
Ruby went through a lot in the first book, and now things have settled down with Arcus back on the throne it’s all caught up with her. She has flashbacks to what happened when she fought Rasmus’s Frostblood champions, visions of where the Minax is and what havoc it’s wreaking in Tempesia. Ruby knows she needs to stop the Minax, it’s what pushes her to Sudesia when Kai offers her passage. She feels useless in the Frostblood court, and knows despite what Arcus says he can never fully achieve peace with her standing by his side. At least in Sudesia Ruby can help convince the Fireblood queen of Arcus’s sincerity in offering peace.
The relationship between Ruby and Arcus was something I loved in the first book, and something I still loved in the second even though they’re not together much. Arcus was never far from Ruby’s thoughts, but the distance between them offered Ruby a chance to find herself as an individual. On Sudesia Ruby has a home where she belongs, it allows her to discover who she really is in a place where she’s free to let her powers out without fear or repercussions.
Kai is a Fireblood prince who holds more secrets close to his chest than Ruby fully realises. When she first meets him Ruby is convinced Kai is nothing more than a Fireblood ambassador, and Kai sees Ruby as a means to an end. If he manages to get her back to Sudesia he get s a second chance, something he wants more than anything else. Kai and Ruby work well together, their powers complement each other and as he trains her to face the trials.
There is a love triangle formed in this book. I was very wary when I saw it hinted at in the blurb, and I can’t say I liked the addition of Kai as an obstacle to Ruby and Arcus’s relationship. However I read another review that mentioned how the love triangle was something that assisted in Ruby’s individual character development rather than got in the way of it, and I do agree with that point. In the end the love triangle never got in the way of who Ruby was growing into as a character, and that’s something I liked seeing.
In the first book we learnt all about the Frostbloods. We saw Tempesia and what King Rasmus did to the people under his control. In the second book the focus is on the Firebloods. This time we see Sudesia, a place Ruby has heard countless tales of where she, as a Fireblood, rightfully belongs. All the other elements of the world introduced in the first book – the war between the Frostbloods and the Firebloods, the myths and the Gods they believed in – was expanded in this second book adding more layers to the setting of the Frostblood Saga. As in the first book Elly Blake has created an incredible world, artfully expanding it more in this second book as she introduces a new culture and country with Sudesia.
Despite the ‘second book syndrome’ feeling I got from Fireblood, overall it was a good read. While the plot was slow in places the world building was incredible, and Ruby’s individual character development kept me interested enough in the story that I was never put off this book. The ending was action-packed, and after the things that were revealed and the new players who were introduced to the story I can’t wait for the third book in the series.
What did you think of Fireblood? 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.