“Are you a huntress or are you the prey?” . . . “I’m a Huntress”, Sol whispered. Marta smiled and her voice went dark. “Then hunt.”
* Thank you NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
First thing I want to point out about Firefrost, is that stunning cover. I know the age old advice that a book should never be judged by it’s cover, but dagger surrounded snowflakes set ablaze was too striking to not grab my attention. Both dagger and flames are symbolic to the two protagonists this prequel, prequel, set 100 years before the prelude to the Flameskin Chronicles follow.
Sol, a Huntress, guiding a royal envoy safe passage through the treacherous mountains in the dead of winter. Her main objective being to provide for her mother and three younger sisters. And Kelan, a newly promoted Lieutenant of the Flameskin army, born to share his soul with a Pyra. A demon that feeds on his emotions and grants him strength and the power to wield destructive fire at the cost of becoming possessed and losing his freewill. The two meet on opposite sides of a war that’s been raging for many years and when circumstances isolates Sol and Kelan on a barren wasteland of snow and ice, the two must put away prejudices to survive.
Firefrost is a Fantasy Romance that falls heavily on the latter. A Romeo and Juliet type scenario rather than an enemies to lovers as it lacked the tension and banter which is normally present. The structuring felt familiar to a Chinese fantasy Drama, or C-Drama. At first the dialog was a little stiff, but does smooth out as the story progresses. I didn’t quite understand the chemistry between Sol and Kelan. Sol’s prejudice and fear of Kelan and his Flameskin nature was warranted as most Flameskins give in to their demons mid teens and become violent, destructive monsters. Burning all in the path as their Pyra seems to crave reducing all to ash. But Sol’’s wishy-washy attitude towards Kelan and his own declaration of love despite only knowing each other for a few weeks, came across a little cringy. The two seemed quite juvenile in their emotions which didn’t fit well with their mature career paths of experience village Huntress, a title given to the best hunter in that region, and military Lieutenant. A man proven capable of commanding soldiers in the heat of battle.
The world building was both captivating and curious and I found I wanted to know more about the kingdoms involved in this war as well as some of the preternatural creatures mentioned.
It was difficult to tell if the Flameskin Army answered to their own kingdom, fighting to stop the murdering of young Flameskins in neighbouring kingdoms across the continent. Or if they were a very organised rebellion, strongly militarised with they bright red, brass buttoned uniforms.
Firefrost is a perfect read for the romantic at heart. Dealing with the evils of war and the questionable moralities one is faced with when choosing a side or sitting on the fence. Giving the reader an overhead view on two sides to a war and how neither side is truly evil or wholly good.