11 January 2015

Frostfire

Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: The Kanin Chronicles #1
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

I have to say, I am not at all surprised that Amanda Hocking's next venture into a YA series takes us take into the Trylle world.  After all, the Trylle series is what put her on the map in the first place.  It's certainly what made me a fan.  And after the disastrous flop of the Watersong series, even I was excited at the prospect of returning to the Trylle, though a bit reserved now.

Frostfire brings a new set of characters, a new plot, even a new setting, but it definitely carries the same familiar feel of the Trylle series.    Frostfire is narrated by nineteen year old Bryn, a Kanin tracker that wants to join the king's elite guard squad, even though she has to work twice as hard since she is female.  To start off our tale, Bryn is sent to bring back a changeling, a young man named Linus.  Sound kind of familiar?  It should.  After all, the Trylle series starts with a male tracker sent to bring back a changeling, a female, of high social status in their society.

Frostfire is set four years after the conclusion of the Trylle series, and things have not gotten much more peaceful for our trolls in hiding.  The elusive Konstantin Black, who Bryn was majorly crushing on when she was younger before he went and tried to kill her father, is paired up with another miscreant.  Together, they are trying to capture changelings before they are brought back to Kanin to take their rightful place with their birth families.

As is a requirement for all Hocking novels, Frostfire contains a hearty dose of YA romance.  Even though Konstantin tried to kill her father and she has sworn revenge on him, when she runs into him, she cannot help but think that everything may not be what it seems.  Perhaps he isn't the cold blooded killer he appears to be.  Maybe even more sinister plots are in play.  And if that isn't complicated enough, Bryn has a flirtatious relationship with the Rektor, Ridley, who is essentially her boss (and older than her to boot).  When Ridley starts to change from his womanizer styled lifestyle to be in a real relationship with a drop out tracker Bryn trained with, Bryn decides that perhaps she might actually have feelings for her boss, even though she has forbidden herself to date within the workplace (although she has apparently broken this rule once already, as she has some awkward run-ins with an ex-boyfriend tracker).  Needless to say, this novel is full of a lot of tension, frustration, and awkward moments that can get a little nausea inducing.

While I didn't mind that aspect so much in the Trylle series since the plot and setting were so unique, a little bit of the novelty has worn off this time around since we've been around the block with Hocking once now already.  Oftentimes, Bryn feels very childish for her age, and her elders even more so.  The prose is hardly an instant classic in the making, and quite a few situations are eye rolling.  But, I don't know... I guess the cameo appearance of Tove has me hoping that we'll get more crossovers with the original Trylle series, which just might be worth the shortcomings of this new narrator and series.  The ending was certainly interesting enough to make me want to read the next installment.  And even if it turns out to be a flop, all three novels in the series will be published by the end of 2015, so at least I will only have to wait and suffer through less than a year for this series.  Despite its short comings, however, I am still holding out hope that Hocking can pull her act together for a solid sophomore act.

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