Saturday, 7 December 2013

EARC Review: A Breath of Frost

A Breath of Frost

Publication Date: January 2nd 2014 
~~A copy was provided by Bloomsbury Childrens, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.~

In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.
And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders...because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away ...or even worse, another witch is killed?


Firstly, don't let my rating reflect how amazing this book is, it would have been a full five, because it is, amazing, it was quirky and funny and dark and dangerous and the romance electric. Just as all of Alyxandra Harvey's books' are.

The characters are fleshed out, and personality prominent, they're very much real and once you get into it, the voices are definitely distinguishable, but you have to get there first, which brings me to...
The problem for me was the fact that A Breath of Frost has a very large main cast, and a very large side cast, and though the main characters are distinguishable once you get to know them, in the beginning I had to stop to think what perspective I was reading. Except for Gretchen's, you really can't miss hers, she was very much there. Adding to that, written in third person and having five perspectives switching without order, and on top of that, later on some flashbacks, it's a lot to keep up and wrap your head around. I actually stopped at 13% because at that time, I couldn't keep track of the characters and I found it hard to get into. So I read another book instead and then went back to it, and it was just what I needed.

It took me longer than it usually would have to finish it, but I'm glad I did, because despite all of the above, it was so good.
Once  the murders start, and  girls' bodies start showing up everywhere, the Lovegroves' get sucked into a world they didn't even know existed, and that they've broken rules they couldn't possibly break if they knew nothing of them. Just for being from the cursed and unruly Lovegroves' the girls are targets of  the Keepers, and all eyes on Emma especially. It was an interesting build-up, and by the end things are not exactly tied up into a neat perfect little bow, but this segment is. A Break of Frost starts off with a bang, and end with one too.
It seems witches are in the spotlight at the moment, or maybe I'm just seeing them around more than I used to, but,  Harvey's definitely stands out against its competitors, it's atmospheric and intense, but it's also hilarious in places, and magical. It's seamless. But, it has a Harry Potter feel to it, and in some situations and places, any die hard  should be able to  pick up on the similarities, but it is unique on its own right. It's well researched, brings back some classical elements and though the romance  is a feature, it's not the center feature, it's not romance with a side of witch. It's plot and character driven, but also relationship driven, too. All kinds of relationships.

The three main characters, Emma, Gretchen and Penelope, their family relationship is concrete, they bounce off one another, they're protective and love one another, there's no bitchiness or rivalry. Their bound is solid, and it's really nice to see that for a change. They're also really determined too, to do what they want, even if they're told.
Now, I'm going to talk about the mysterious Cormac, or should I say frustrating Cormac? He was simply yummy, and even though I wanted to slap him most of the way for the way he acts, even if he has his reasons, and they're pretty good ones, I loved him. Emma's one lucky witch.

I really enjoyed it, and though I did love getting a wider view of the picture with the other characters, I much preferred Emma's.
A Breath of Frost was an intense and electric read, addicting and refreshing characters and I can't wait to see what the second instalment has for us.


Rating: 4/5