Book Review: The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly (eARC)

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

Genre: Fantasy  

Publishing Info: eARC from Harper Voyager

Pages: 384

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls.

And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

Thank you so much to Harper360YA for providing an eARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Frozen Crown is an intriguing political fantasy revolving around a princess desperate to save her kingdom from the empire that has invaded her lands. Although I was a little unsure about this book at the start, it did grow on me after the first few chapters, and I found myself invested in Askia’s quest to find an army to help take back her kingdom.

Although The Frozen Crown is an Adult fantasy novel, the writing style, with first person narration and quick-to-read prose, was more reminiscent of YA. While the simple style made it an easy read, my preference would have been for more description and vivid prose to make the settings and scenes really come to life in my mind.   

Unfortunately, this book suffers from Askia falling into the “not like other girls” trope, which is very overdone. She’s a fighter, and trains with her soldiers and later Vishir’s guards, which would be unusual in Seravesh, but makes her stand out even more in Vishir, where women’s roles seem to be even more restricted. It’s even specifically stated in the text that one of the male characters is attracted to her because she’s not like any of the women in Vishir, not like any women he’s ever met. Which just made me roll my eyes. Having said that, I did like her character. Askia is fierce and determined, but also has flaws that make her feel realistic.

I liked Viskander’s character at the start, but he seemed to become progressively whiny and irritating, acting more like a child towards the end. Though that did provide a contrast with Askia, who has seen and endured so much, has experienced so much more of the world in comparison to Viskander. Ozura was one of the best characters, as I disliked her at the beginning, but warmed to her as we got to see more sides to her as the book went on.

The magic system in The Frozen Crown is very interesting and I liked how there is a cost for using magic, which is different depending what type of magic a witch has. For Askia, she feels painful cold. When she started training to use her magic, I was worried the book was going to become more about her magical training, but it was only a small part, with the focus more on political manoeuvrings and court intrigue which was what I was looking forward to from this book.  

The Frozen Crown seemed to be heading a predictable direction, but some massive twists in the last few chapters left me shocked, the final chapter spinning the story in a totally new direction for the next book in the series. There was a lot to like about The Frozen Crown, and while the ending had me staring open-mouthed at my Kindle, this book just didn’t stand out for me.

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