Book Reviews: Frost & Thorns by Kate Avery Ellison

I know I haven’t posted in an eternity, but I’ve been extremely busy. While I would’ve liked to write and complete something worthy of posting over the summer, I did not have the chance. For the first half, I was studying abroad in France. I did get around to some writing during the second half, but this was after giving myself a month to relax and do nothing whatsoever. Then, shortly after I had started a new piece, fall semester arrived again. This term, like most, has had me completely busy with class and homework, but I have a job now as well. So, sadly, I’ve had to neglect my writing.

But I have been reading a lot still, and while this won’t be an original piece, I wanted to share my thoughts on two young adult novels I recently read: Frost and Thorns, the first and second books of The Frost Chronicles series by Kate Avery Ellison. Check out her blog here (where she was nice enough to respond to a comment of mine).

Below are the reviews I wrote awhile ago for LibraryThing. While the first is a full-fledged review, the second is a shorter bit of thoughts.

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Frost.

Oh boy. I completely devoured this book in two days (which is fast considering my busy schedule!). And I loved every moment of it.

In Frost, Kate Avery Ellison has constructed a world quite different than our own, but not so much so as to be unimaginable. The perfect balance between description and action, this young adult novel has a plot that moves at just the right pace. I became completely invested in the narrator, Lia Weaver, and the lives of those around her.

At first, I couldn’t help but think the novel had a Hunger Games feel to it – the quota, rations, and general life of the people in the village in addition to the kind of responsibility that’s put on Lia made it impossible not to compare her to Katniss. But Ellison’s novel and narrator are something else entirely. Responsible, worried, caring, strong, in tune with her feelings despite being a little closed off, fearful yet brave – all this and more make Lia the likable protagonist she is.

She and the other town villagers have one major threat: the Watchers. These mysterious and dangerous creatures are monsters that stalk the woods at night. Are they animal or are they something else, something mechanical? I’m not quite sure yet. Another young adult fiction novel came to mind for me here: James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and its creatures called Grievers. In both novels, the creatures are a mysterious and lurking threat that keep those they stalk inside at night. I don’t know enough about the Watchers yet, but they are more important than they initially seem. And they are only a tiny part of Frost’s plot.

Lia, after helping her sister rescue a young man dying in the woods, is torn between fear of the stranger Gabe and interest in him. She discovers secrets that make her question how well she knew her dead parents. Corrupt political powers and a secret conspiratorial group in revolt emerge, and the plot thickens. The novel has a lot going on… in a good way. As the intriguing conflicts build up, the mystery of it all becomes all the more appealing.

I found myself completely sucked into this story – I stayed up later than I should’ve and even snuck in a few pages at work and in class when I could. Frost is a great start to the series, and I will definitely be picking up the next book.

Thorns.

Thorns is a great followup to Frost and does not disappoint. This time around we get to know some of the other characters a little better, and new enemies are introduced. The strain on the villagers is greater than ever, and someone needs to do something. Lia and Adam take action, working as Thorns operatives, and their relationship begins to grow. The Brewer boy turns out to be a very intriguing and likable character, and Lia establishes herself a little more. Her siblings also break somewhat free from their ‘children stuck at home’ roles.

While I could see some things coming, it was never far ahead of the narrator herself discovering them, and this novel definitely had moments that left me shocked. I can’t wait to read the third in the series… just patiently waiting for it to be released on Smashwords so I can read it on iBooks. :)

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I have yet to read Weavers, Bluewing, or Aeralis, the final three novels of the series, because I am waiting on a particular format to be released, but I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys young adult / dystopian fiction and doesn’t take reading too seriously – after all, it doesn’t always have to be academic; reading for fun is important, too. Here are the links to all five novels on Amazon:
Frost
Thorns
Weavers
Bluewing
Aeralis

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