Zoë herself sent me a copy of FrostFire in a care package some time ago & I hate that I only recently read it because I loved it! As usual Zoë managed to put together an amazing fantasy, with fantastic world-building & fabulous characters, with important issues stitched into the seams as well. Don’t expect anything less than me raving about how much I enjoyed this book!
There is one major spoiler within my review but I have labelled it so you’re able to avoid it!
This book contains hints at sexual assault as well as slavery.
FrostFire follows a young girl called Frost who believes she is possessed by an evil wolf demon; a demon which has resulted in her losing everyone she loves. When Frost stumbles upon some of the royal family’s warriors, warriors that won’t let her run away like she usually does, she only has one choice – to prove that she’s not the enemy & that she is a good person.
Very, very quickly I found myself very connected to Frost; despite not having much in common with her character, my emotions were a wreck whenever she was upset or scared & I cried on more than one occasion. Zoë did an amazing job of creating a character that had truly been shaped by her past & it was easy to pinpoint which of her traits were related to certain events. Something else I appreciated about Zoë’s creation of Frost was the fact that Frost hadn’t magically learnt how to fight like a warrior, despite being on her own for so long. Instead, Frost was clumsy & Zoë had really thought about how Frost’s experiences would affect her behaviour. There was one particular scene that broke my heart, but I appreciated the subtlety of it & it was amazing how such a stripped back scene affected my emotions.
The other characters in the book were also put together really well & all of the focus characters had depth to them – I appreciated that Luca changed significantly after a certain event & that this added another layer into the story, as well as to his character. The relationship between Luca & Frost was always destined to develop, but it was still complicated & messy, & not overly sweet, so I really enjoyed reading it. Zoë also managed to get me a little hot under the collar at times as well 😳
I loved how Arian’s character was written, he was complicated & damaged, & when I found out why, all of his behaviour made a lot of sense. His character was certainly one of the most interesting ones in the story because he was just super complicated – & I like complicated! Plus, his background story was quite unpredictable so I liked that. Spoiler: I also really liked how Zoë wrote about the feelings Arian started to develop for Frost, & how Frost handled these feelings – it was great that Zoë didn’t necessarily include the relationship between Frost & Arian as a shock-factor/plot-twist, or as a way to break up Frost & Luca, but mostly as a way for the reader to get to know & understand how damaged Arian really is. It also showed how wonderful Frost is.
As with all of Zoë’s books there was some great diversity within the story – there’s a F/F relationship, which I adored, & people of different skin colours, with open discussions of race between Frost & Luca, in regards to the diversity within the camp. Post-traumatic stress disorder was also a very heavy theme in the book, namely with main character Frost; but there were also signs of PTSD within some of the other characters as well.
Within Zoë’s diversity there were some serious issues, for example, the fact that she decided to include slavery, with the darker skinned races being victim to this. Although it was explained why the power-balance fell as it did, I feel like this part of the story could hurt or upset some people of colour & for that reason I’m not sure how I feel about it. Having said that, I don’t hate the fact that slavery was included in the story, because it was very central to the rest of the plot & the story was ultimately about abolishing slavery – I want to be very clear about the fact that in no way did any of the good guys approve of this treatment of POC & a big message within the book is that slavery is wrong.
FrostFire is quite a long YA book, at 439 pages, but this was 100% a good thing in my eyes – the length of the book meant that it was complex & that multiple stories could be told, & like with Shadows on the Moon (464 pages), it meant that the book was built up of a lot more than a basic beginning, middle & end! There was so much emotion, magic, action & love within the story of FrostFire & all of these things meant that I was totally captivated by it. The ending left me feeling really relaxed & content, but I would love to read a short-story about Frost’s experiences at court! Like I said at the start of my review, I really, really loved this book & I know it’ll be something I read again one day.