I have become quite picky with fantasy books lately. I usually shy away from high fantasy as I find they are not my favorite genre to read. I either don’t understand what is going on or the story does not grab my attention. I was hesitant to start this because the blurb reminded me too much of Red Queen. After the fiasco that was Glass Sword, I did not want a repeat.
Short recap: Ruby is one of the last Firebloods in the land. She is hidden with monks and trained to use her fireblood power. She is tasked with killing the ruling Frostblood king and taking his throne.
There is nothing overly complicated about this plot. I found the story interesting and very easy to follow. My one complaint though is at times it felt a little more juvenile than I was hoping for. If I was much younger and just discovering YA fantasy or moving my way up from middle grade to YA, this would be the book for me. However, that is not me. I felt like there were various parts of other plots sprinkled throughout this story. Part of it felt like Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, other parts read like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I could keep going but you name the YA fantasy book, there’s a good chance part of this story will feel like a section of it. It is a quick and easy read but nothing that really sank its teeth into me. The world building is decent and it does the job but it wasn’t anything that absolutely blew me away.
The same goes for the characters. The story starts with Ruby, hiding her gift of fire, trying to survive by her mother’s side. Everything changes when Ruby’s mother is killed by the king’s army and thus causes Ruby to swear revenge. Nothing new with that storyline. Ruby trains hard to develop her powers because she is constantly told that she is The One that can save everyone. Sound familiar as well? Again, nothing new. The male character, already forgot his name, helps train Ruby all while hiding a dark and powerful secret. Pretty sure you can already guess what that is. These two start a sort of romance but I never felt the chemistry between them. It sort of felt like they were attracted to each other because they were the only ones close to the same age. Plus, they are supposed to be forbidden from being together. Woooooooooooooo. Heard that one before, have you? Stuff like that is throughout this entire story.
Overall, I liked this story enough to be curious about the second book. This just did not feel like anything original or earth shattering that I need to scream from the rooftops how amazing it is. I have a feeling a lot of YA readers will really enjoy this, but don’t go into it expecting something new.