Frostfire by Amanda Hocking


Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who’s determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin – a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

There were signs that indicated that Frostfire could be a game-changing book. The characters were trolls, a mythological creature we never see in the YA-fantasy landscape, a determined heroine who is resolute in her goals despite being disadvantaged by her mixed heritage, a forbidden romance, and perhaps a great adventure with a dash of mystery and self-growth. Frostfire seemingly ticked all the boxes of an enjoyable, light-hearted read. As a reader, you learn that some books have these elements that will entice you to read it – ‘strong female characters‘, romances that flourish, a fantastical world that immerses us, a compelling premise – but it does not necessarily make it a good book. A book is like a cake: a cake may appear delicious with its cream-cheese icing and chocolate flakes, but if the cake itself doesn’t taste good, it is not a good cake. Unfortunately, that is the case with Frostfire.

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking is a book brimming with potential. It faces in the right direction with all its ambitious ideas but none of that is evidenced in the novel. Twenty percent into the book, there was an abundance of exposition that felt meaningless and irrelevant to the wider story. I felt lost in Hocking’s world, I felt completely disconnected from it. The writing offers vague clues, but when piecing it together, smoke felt more intelligible. There comes a point when exposition begins to feel like a distraction from the wider picture, like a semblance of depth. Only when the main character provides a history lesson to a character as clueless as us do newcomers learn more about the Kanin, Trylle, and Skojare troll societies. Only then does it feel like the book is developing an iota of structure.

Though, by then many of the book’s shortcomings were beginning to manifest, which snowballs into consequential flaws that are impossible to overlook.

Feeling invested in the book and its characters felt impossible. After the prologue, which showed promise and spurs the main character on a path of vengeance, the plot loses momentum. Nothing happens for most of the book; no plot development nor character development, and most of the narrative is pointless. Bryn, the main character and narrator, is a typical YA heroine whose characterization is centred on being kickass and badass but has no substance or dimension whatsoever, other than being self-righteous and nauseatingly naive (whether she is intentionally naive is unclear, which strikes me as a problem). Whilst I have no problems with flawed characters, there is nothing redeeming about Bryn that balances her out to be a well-rounded, complex character. Worse, rather than being shown these good personal qualities through storytelling, secondary characters (her mentor, friends, family) were treated as tools to convince the reader that Bryn is a cornucopia of strengths and qualities.

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” Ridley assured me. “You just have strong convictions, and you want to do the right thing.”

(Would you believe it if I told you that Ridley is the love interest?)

The different troll species were difficult to discern from one another and the construction of their societies and politics was uninspired. More so, the trolls are evidently not very troll-like. Aside from having changelings, their Scandinavian roots, being closely connected to nature, and possessing powers, what makes them trolls? They look human, even in the presence of other trolls. The Kanin trolls swindle human trust funds intended for their children (who are actually trolls; the real children are dumped in orphanages) as a means to sustain their economy, and this duplicity is not remotely explored or questioned. The only word of it is when Bryn feels anxious that the individual she is charged with may not trust her and society for it. It thus begs the question: why trolls? Contrived novelty is not a good reason.

Also, what is it, exactly, with Bryn being an ‘outcast’ and ‘inferior’ despite her being white-skinned, blonde, blue-eyed, and attractive? So the novel touches briefly on implicit prejudice, and how her mixed heritage made it difficult to succeed. But white-skinned, blonde, blue-eyed and attractive – was that supposed to be ironic? Do not tell me that the troll society perceive these traits to be lesser traits – it is poor taste and facile. Frostfire could have been an avenue to explore mixed-race heritage and identity, or being part of a society that disadvantages you for something inherent and innate. Really Hocking, you can do better.

The biggest limitation of Frostfire is the writing; it was clunky, the phrasing awkward, and the dialogue banal. Excessively descriptive paragraphs punctuated the narrative leaving little room for the reader’s imagination, forcing my attention on small, intricate details on small, insignificant objects. (Yes, the thing is pretty, but do we need three sentences for it?)

Inside, the palace reminded me of ice. Many of the walls were made of frosted glass several feet thick. The glass appeared bluish, but it had been sandblasted to make it opaque. The other wall were covered in a silvery blue wallpaper that looked like frost.

The poor narrative style and its awkward pacing made Frostfire difficult to pick up again once you put it down. The ideas are present and have potential to be interesting and developed, but it is its execution that fails the story and its content.

Frostfire is regretfully a weak beginning to a series, and overall a weak book. Its flaws hindered my enjoyment of the book, to the extent that it was, at times, exasperating to read. I’m not absolutely lost with Hocking’s concepts and ideas. As earlier emphasized, there is potential in her ideas, and I would be interested in reading future books if and when she improves her writing, can devise compelling plots, and include some much-needed action (not only the punchy-punchy kind, but also the development and growth kind). A disappointing read.

Rating: 1/5

Book Information
Book Name: Frostfire
Book Series: The Kanin Chronicles #1
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: Pan Macmillan UK


18 thoughts on “Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

  1. It really is such a shame when a book gives you the impression of a great story on the outside but once you dive in, it doesnt love up to it. I had been seeing this around quite a lot a few months ago and I was intrigued. I still might pick this up but now I’ve got your opinion in mind when I do end up reading it!
    Great review, wonderful as usual. 😄
    xoxo 💋

    • It is! I was quite excited for this book, but I had my hopes dashed. I say try it anyway! You might like it – it’s quite creative and light-hearted. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. :)

      Thank you Josie! <3

  2. Oh no! It definitely sounds like a book with great potential. I mean, Scandinavian trolls? Just those two words would have put this book at the top of my wish list. It’s so frustrating when there’s no plot or character development. It just makes it a wasted opportunity and a waste of a book. I do think it’s hilarious though that the trolls see attractiveness as inferior. That’s actually really freaking funny.

    • Right? It was pretty frustrating, because it goes around in circles for most of the book, and the only interesting thing happens in the last chapter. :c

      Right??? It’s just. in what universe are white, blond, blue-eyed people disadvantaged? Why make that so in this book? Why miss a perfect opportunity. Angry sigh. >:c

    • It wouldn’t do any harm to give it a go anyway! I think this book was maybe not my cup of tea, because others have enjoyed it. :) So maybe it is just me!

      Aw, thank you Mara!! This one took me forever, but I am quite happy with how it turned out. c:

      • Most of my Goodreads friends have rated it 2-3 starts, so it just kind of strikes me as a mediocre book, but I might pick it up if I see it on sale somewhere:)

        You should be, it looks amazing! I really love how you draw the covers for your reviews, very creative ^-^

  3. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear you didn’t like this, I had seen it a few times in bookstores but never picked it up because of the typical Aryan beauty on the cover. We’re meant to believe being blonde and gorgeous is a curse? PLEASE. Don’t be so transparent, author. Shit like this almost never works, unless it’s Nought x Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

    On a more positive note, that art is absolutely beautiful *A*!!

    • Hahaha, right? It’s ridiculous, and it’s heavily emphasized in the book, because the main character had to work SUPER HARD to get to the top and now SHE IS THE BEST and it’s like. Give me a break. There’s so much ridiculous rhetoric in between the lines.

      You’re right; Noughts and Crosses would be the only time that is ok. But seriously, ugh.

      Hehehe aw thank you Aentee!! <3 <3

  4. I’ve never seen a review as perfectly detailed as this, CW (or Chooie as Summer calls you. What should I call you? Haha)! I mean, some do very long ones and they become too dragging but this, seriously, is just emanating perfection. I also like how tactful you were in combining both your distaste and respect for the book. Great one :)

    • Either is fine, but at this point I prefer CW! :)

      Aw wow, thank you so much Trisha Ann!! That means a lot to me, especially since I really struggled with writing this review! Haha I’m trying to be more tactful rather than sarcastic! Good practice for me, esp for the future, hehehe. :D

  5. OH NO. I have an arc of Crystal Kingdom collecting dust in the corner of my room so I decided to pick up Frostfire from BookOutlet for a couple of bucks. -___- Now I wish I just borrowed the book from he library. Oh well, at least the cover is pretty.

    Speaking of covers… YOU DREW A PERSON THIS TIME AND HER FACE. MAD SKILLS RIGHT THERE. Anyway, I’m sorry that this didn’t meet your expectations. :/

    • I’m sorry too :( I think it can be enjoyable. It’s not a horrible or problematic or bad book. It’s just a weak book. It just could’ve been better!

      YES the cover is gorgeous. I would buy the book for the cover alone. sigh. :c

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