Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

My rating: 3.5/5

I came across Frostfire when I was looking for another audiobook to take to work. The synopsis easily catch my eye, I mean trolls, broken trust and romance? It sounded amazing!

And the first chapter were, in fact, amazing. The story starts a few years before the present events, explaining exactly what happened with Konstantine, an elite warrior that suddenly became a traitor with no apparent reason whatsoever.

I loved the world created in Frostfire, every detail of the culture and the characters felt real to me. Sure, a few stuff didn’t make logical sense, like the changelings and how the economic system was based on (I’ll get back to that later) but, hey! It’s fantasy, and I don’t mind it if some stuff aren’t perfect as long as the rest is entertaining.

Bryn felt like a real person, she had friends, family, a passion and history. Have I mentioned how much I love it when authors put thought into their characters? She had even dated!

Bryn is a tracker, a person in charge of finding changelings (troll babies that were placed in the human world so they could grow up safely) and returning them to their birth families so they could continue their lives in their world, learning about their real culture and abilities (some changeling’s skin changes, others have mind control, etc.).  Three years ago, when Bryn was fifteen and a newbie, the guard she admired the most attacked her father for no reason and almost killed him. Ever since then, she has sworn to bring him back to justice, but when the changeling she had been protecting is almost kidnapped by Konstantine, Bryn starts to realize that there is more going on that the simple workings of a strange mind.

She teams up with Bradley, her boss and the guy with the perpetual smirk/grin to find out what Konstantine is planning.

As I said, the first few chapters were amazing; they were action packed and really managed to settle the story in a simple and effective way… until the romance happened.

This was one of the aspects I was also looking forward in the story, I love me some romance to keep the story interesting, but in Frostfire’s case, the romantic element only managed to ruin things for me, since it kept the story from moving forward. After those first chapters the book focuses on developing a love story that, in all honestly, didn’t appeal to me in any way.

I don’t know what happened, but the moment the romance with Ridley started, things went to hell. I wanted to know more about the mystery, there were clues laid everywhere for the readers to place together and discover more about what was happening with the changelings and how it could affect their kingdom, instead during 87% of the book we are subjected to Bryn denying her feelings for her boss, kind of accepting them but then finding out he had a girlfriend and the rest was a bunch of longing glances, Ridley’s eyes “shadowed by something she couldn’t understand” knuckles brushing, elbows touching and me sitting at work cursing them for not letting the mothercracking story move along already!

There was so much angst! And I couldn’t even understand why! It was like Bryn was simply making excuses up as she went, all to prologue the angst that I couldn’t care less about.

Bryn is not a pure bread like most in her kingdom, and she has always been looked down for it. Unlike most trolls who have brownish skin, dark hair and eyes to “blend better with their surroundings”, Bryn has blonde hair, pale skin and eyes as blue as the sky, so of course, she is terribly ugly.

Because people who are the perfect embodiment of occidental’s standards of beauty are, of course! So hideous.

Sorry, I just really dislike it when books present beautiful female characters who don’t know that they are beautiful only for them to depend upon a guy. I hate that.

Anyways, one of the things that didn’t make sense (they were a few, but if I write it all down I’ll never finish) was the economic system. It was explained that, at first, trolls changed their children with humans because their child mortality rates were sky-high, and to protect their species they sent their offspring with humans who had more advanced technology and medical skills… instead of incorporating that knowledge for themselves.

But then, apparently they started to make deals with humans were we would pay trolls money to raise their children, only for them to be taken away when they are adults. Who would pay for that? Seriously, imagine raising your child only for it to be taken away from you, AND YOU PAYED FOR THAT.

Especially children from royal houses are the ones who are sent into these exchanges, so the family earns more money, but the thing is, nobody really knows were the child ends up. Sure, they know the family they’ll be staying with but as we see in further scenes, there is no follow up, they don’t even know if the child is alive or dead until they investigate, and these are royal children, how could they just dump them on some people and “hope” everything is alright? That’s not tradition, that’s dumb, no kingdom in the history of the world would ever take this practice! There are other tribes who have different traditions, like Bryn’s mom who instead of using changelings they “simply” charge a lot of taxes to their people, so that the monarchy can survive… but where do the normal folks get their money? In Bryn’s kingdom they use the money obtained from changelings to pay everybody… or is it just the monarchy?

As the story moved forward, and the romance became more annoying, a few of the things I liked were starting to bother me as well. I had loved that Bryn had friends but we never really get to know them. We know a few details of their family and stuff, but it becomes clear that their only purpose in the story is to bring Ridley up in the conversations, to tease Bryn about him and why they haven’t hooked up. I swear to God, there wasn’t a single thing that wasn’t about that boring ass romance! The secondary characters are not developed at all, they appear now and then in the story to remind us that there is some plot going on, but then it’s all about the romance.

I loved the beginning, the story and world-building even though it was flawed, but it just… annoyed me so much. I was hoping that the end would pick up, but it ended up flat. There was no conclusion or answers, it felt as if it had been cut abruptly. I don’t know if I’ll continue with the series.

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