Monday, 18 March 2013

FrostFire by Zoe Marriott: Review

FrostFire was one of the best books I’ve read all year, and it was such an unexpected treat. I was trawling through my daughter’s bookshelf and spotted this lovely looking cover. I picked it up on impulse and didn’t put it down until I had closed it the next morning.

Frost is cursed to share her soul with a ravening wolf. The problem is compounded because no one but her and her mother know the wolf exists. Everyone else thinks she’s possessed by a devil. Superstitious hatred drives the people in the many villages where they’ve lived to violence. Unfortunately, violence awakes the wolf. Every time Frost is hurt, she goes mad, leaving a trail of bodies behind her. When her mother dies, she sets off alone to the temple of the Goddess in the Fire whom she hopes will cure her. (It’s the same temple and goddess as in Daughter of the Flames. This is the second book in this series, but it works just as well as a standalone.)

Instead of finding the temple, she meets Luca and Arian, the leaders of a band of soldiers responsible for flushing out the bandits who have occupied the shrine. Luca offers to help Frost control what he calls her ‘battle rage’. He appoints Arian to train her as a soldier. What unfolds is a beautiful adventure filled with love, loyalty, betrayal, and despair - with the ultimate prize of hope and honour at the end.

Frost is a fascinating mix of courage and fear. She can take on any danger without flinching, but the constant threat of the wolf keeps her cautious, almost submissive and naïve. That changes utterly by the end of the book.

Luca is an enchanting man whom one cannot help but love – as Frost very quickly discovers. Little does she know, he loves her to. But it is Arian, Luca’s friend, a man as tortured and wounded as Frost, who publically seems to win her affection. So yes, this book does have a bit of a love triangle, but it’s solved in the most unexpected (and tragic) way.

Although romance plays a part, this book offers so much more. The plot is clever and the characters are vivid. And the all-important world building? Ruan, where the action takes place, is so real I could taste the spiced chickpeas, hear the singing around the campfire and see the Goddess in the flames.

The day I finished reading it, I bought my own copy, which now has a place of honour on my bookshelf. I know I will be reading it again and again. I give this book a galaxy of stars.

PS. Luca is good competition for Perry (Under the Never Sky) as my book boyfriend!

Disqus for Gwynneth White