Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.
Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.
You know how too much of a good thing can make you sick? This book is the literary equivalent of that. Think of every YA fantasy cliche and/or trope you can think of, stick them all together (you know the order!), and you've got Frostblood. A friend of mine gave me this book when I went to stay with her after DNF-ing it herself and, to be honest, I very nearly did the same thing.
The story was well written, the plot decent and the pacing tight. It was just so . . . boring. I've read this book before. Time and time again. Every single YA trope is trotted out here, and you could practically forget the chapter numbers and just play "name that cliche" with titles instead.
The bitter protagonist with a troubled past and nothing left to lose? Check.
The mysterious love interest with a hidden secret? Check.
The hate to love relationship? Check.
The tyrannical king/queen/ruler who hates magic - or at least the kind of magic that our heroine possesses? Check.
Little girl lost rising up to lead a band of rebels and fighters far better suited to the job than she herself is? Check.
The chosen one? Check.
Training to control a long denied/newly discovered power? Family deaths? Survivors guilt? I'm just going to go ahead and give them all a big fat check.
It's all here. Don't get me wrong, I love YA tropes. I've done a post on exactly why I love them too. But when a book just reels them off one after another without bringing anything new or innovative to the table, without putting its own unique spin on them, I get bored. Once or twice in a book is fine. But in this sheer volume, it just bored me to tears. I knew exactly how this story was going to end within a couple of chapters. Not because I'm particularly perceptive, but because the lack of originality here pretty much announced the well worn path the story was going to tread.
That characters were . . . fine, I guess. Not good, not bad. Just okay. Ruby was your typical "fiesty" (I normally hate that word for being so cliche, but, in this instance, it's incredibly fitting) protagonist, hiding her magical powers in semi-isolation with a family member who the plot dictated was doomed from the start. Like the friend we all have who confuses being "real" and "honest" with being rude, Ruby was pretty unlikable for the most part. Arcus fared a little better, but was still hobbled by the plot which meant he was probably supposed to be brooding and mysterious, but just came off like an asshole with poor communication skills. Their relationship was so by the numbers that I never felt it as anything more than a plot contrivance. The king (I can't even remember his name) was a bog-standard bad guy with a backstory, and none of the supporting characters made enough of an impression for me to remember their names.
The biggest problem I had with this book though was that I just didn't care. It didn't hook me. It didn't even feel like it was trying. It just felt like the same book I'd read a hundred times before with a different dust jacket. I'd rather have a book featuring a character or a story I dislike but actually makes me feel something than a book that I can't bring myself to care about one way or the other. Personally, that's the worst kind of book for me - one that makes you feel absolutely nothing for every single aspect of it.
To be honest, had it not been for a delayed flight, I probably would have DNF'd this book, but as it was I had nothing else to read. Frostblood isn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm sure the rest of the series will be a huge success, but I'm also sure of how it will end. And I don't care enough to read it.