Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

3:43 PM

Title: Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 336
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Hidden deep in the heart of a snow-covered wilderness lies the secret kingdom of the Kanin—a magical realm as beautiful as it is treacherous…

Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society. Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider—a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank. But she’s determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves. Her dream is to become a member of the King’s elite guard, and she’s not going to let anything stand in her way…not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden. A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can’t fight her attraction to him. And she’s beginning to think he feels it too. 

Meanwhile, there’s an attack on the kingdom—one that will test Bryn’s strength like never before. Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago. It’s up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again. But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn’t accept her for who she really is? And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart? 

My Thoughts: 
Amanda Hocking returns to the world of Trylle with Frostfire, the first novel in her brand new Kanin Chronicles series. With her blonde hair and blue eyes revealing her half-blood heritage, Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. She's trained hard for years to become a tracker, but her ultimate dream is to one day join the ranks of the Högdragen, the highly respected elite guard of the King. When Bryn's latest assignment to retrieve a changeling goes awry, she has a confrontation with Konstantin, a man she once adored as a hero until he tried to kill her father several years ago. Now Bryn feels torn; Konstantin's motives are unclear, but she has vowed to protect her kingdom... 

While I do admire Bryn's determination to become a member of the Högdragen, at the same time, I don't quite understand why she wants to put her life on the line for snobbish people who will never accept her. I wanted Bryn to secretly rebel a little, or acknowledge the bitterness she must surely have felt while growing up in such a class-obsessed society, but she didn't really explore those feelings. Bryn is so hard on herself, and very focused on her career, but I'm not really sure if her efforts in achieving her goal will finally give her that feeling of respect and worthiness she desires. It's definitely something I hope Amanda Hocking expands on in the future novels.

The only reason I didn't fall in love with Frostfire as much as I'd hoped is because I'm not convinced yet that the book offers anything new as a spin-off to the very successful Trylle Trilogy. At the heart of Frostfire is an awareness of the problems associated with class elitism and clinging onto old traditions in the face of modern times. However, this was already a central theme in the Trylle Trilogy; Wendy tried to advocate social changes with her powerful position as a member of the royal family in the Trylle tribe.

My main concern with the Kanin Chronicles is that although Bryn is positioned at the other end of the spectrum—she's an outcast and a commoner—a change in perspective will not be enough to excite me, especially if the class issues are repeated all over again. If you haven't read the Trylle Trilogy, you won't notice the repetition because everything about this world of trolls will seem fresh and intriguing, but if you have read them, then you might be left yearning for more. Concerns aside, I did feel Frostfire is a good introductory novel to the Kanin Chronicles and the fast-paced style of writing helped me read it quickly in one sitting. I'm definitely interested in learning what will happen next to Bryn in Ice Kissed, especially after the rather abrupt ending!

Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for providing this review copy!

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