Thursday, December 24, 2020

Review: THE FROZEN CROWN by Greta Kelly


Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Askia is the rightful heir to the Frozen Crown, but her cousin Goran currently rules the kingdom of Searvesh and wears her crown. Askia wants to save her people from his deadly leadership and claim her throne, but she needs an army to do that. She ventures to nearby kingdoms in the Empire of Vishir to ask for aid, and of course, she gets swept up in more than she bargained for.

“I’m here for an army, not to play court politics.”

I loved Askia. A badass orphan princess and witch who wields death magic—what more could you want? She knows what she wants and cleverly plays her way through the court with a quick tongue. Early on, she runs into her childhood friend Iskander who’s the current prince of Eshkaroth, and she realizes it might easier than she thinks to persuade him to help her. But naturally, events don’t go according to plan, especially when she realizes there are enemies on every side and one of them expects her to marry him so he can claim the crown instead! 

I also loved Nariko, Askia’s lady-in-waiting and newfound friend in the court of Eshkaroth. Her soft but firm personality made her my favorite character. In general, the characterization in this book was well done. Each character had their own identity and felt distinct from one another. 

I’m giving the book five stars because I rate books based on my personal enjoyment of them and I loved this book; I really enjoyed my time reading it and I actually looked forward to reading it whenever I put it down, which is kind of rare for me, but there still is a lot that could have been done better here.

I really wish we got to see more magic and that the author went more in-depth with how it works and about the seven different kinds of witches. I also wish I had a better idea of what the characters looked like because I don’t think any physical descriptors were mentioned other than Askia’s red hair. I also would have liked the world to be slightly more fleshed out. We get some descriptions but there’s still so much about the empires that we don’t know. As this entire story takes place in Eshkaroth, we don’t learn much about the surrounding lands. Askia mentions them in passing, which is better than completely ignoring their existence like I sometimes see in epic fantasy novels, but I still wanted a little more. I also wanted to know more about the Frozen Crown, like why is that its name? Is it because it’s cold up in Seravesh? We sadly don’t learn much about Askia’s homeland. I wish a little more detail and description would have been included, and that’s my biggest criticism of this book. 

The Frozen Crown is not perfect, but it was still an impressive debut that I immensely enjoyed way more than I expected to. I’m now eagerly waiting for the sequel and final book in this duology, which I believe is set to come out later next year (2021). 

“There was nothing I wouldn’t do—nothing I wouldn’t give, to convince the emperor to save my people.”

I don’t know why I loved this book so much but I did. The Frozen Crown is an adult fantasy but feels like the perfect mix between young adult and adult, so a good book for someone looking to transition into adult fantasy or for someone who likes fantasy on the lighter side. There is no gore, mild language, and mild romance. The prospect of a future romance has me curious to see how this will play out in the sequel because the ending definitely goes in a direction I didn’t expect! 

If you like epic fantasy with uniquely imagined worlds, gritty heroines, midnight magic lessons, and lots of political scheming and drama, you should check out The Frozen Crown. As a bookseller, I can’t wait to recommend this as much as possible when it comes out; in fact, I’ve already got a few coworkers excited to read it too! 

SPOILERS HERE: There were some things didn’t make sense to me that I wish we’d gotten answers for, such as why Iskander insisted Askia win the duel against Armaan, and why Askia suddenly had feelings for Armaan out of NOWHERE when she’d previously expressed feelings for Illya. She was adamant about not marrying Armaan, about getting an army without getting married first, and then one night she seduced him and was suddenly attracted to him and contemplating marrying him, like what??? That whole scene was uncomfortable and left me completely shocked at how out of place it felt in the story, and I did not understand the thought or reason behind it at all. That was definitely my least favorite part of the book, and I wish we got to see more of Askia’s thought process during that scene because I just couldn’t believe that she was displaying genuine feelings for Armaan. 

I received a copy of this ebook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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