A Touch of Frost by Renée R. Harper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
An incomplete and ultimately disappointing story
To get straight to the point, there is an incredibly slow buildup with no clear, discernible plot until you get to a quick, and completely predictable, reveal at the end that sets up the series.
I was definitely intrigued by the synopsis and the world building was as interesting as I expected. Unfortunately, the story itself meandered through the world while focusing on the angsty emotional drama of the MC, making it difficult to connect with her. This was made even more problematic by the confusing collection of competing prophecies and curses that were poorly explained and hard to keep straight. By the end you are still left with a conflict between two nations, one from which magic is brutally persecuted because of a prophecy against the ruling monarch while the MC, a young woman caught up in the events as they unfold while she pines over a lost love and dreams of a “magical” future. Despite the long, and drawn out story buildup, the story was pretty typical for a YA Fantasy genre; however, it loses points for the abrupt ending and a narration that struggled to differentiate character voices. It really is part 1 of a larger story that should have been told together, but by the time you get to the intermission, there isn’t quite enough interest to continue.
I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.