Sunday, 2 February 2014

Review: Frost by Kathryn James

Title: Frost (Mist #2)
Author: Kathryn James
Release date: January 3rd 2013
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323
Source: Author

Last time Nell went into the mist she rescued her sister. This time she’ll have to go farther than the Elven forest, farther than the frozen wastes beyond and onto a lake of primal ice so treacherous she’ll be lucky to return at all.

It’s the New Year, Woodbridge School is closed and the country is snowed in. While the blizzards rage and Nell’s mum works double shifts, their house is full of Gwen’s friends permanently crashing out on every bed and sofa. The Elven world is frozen, too. It’s deep in snow and ice storms are ravaging the forest. Worst of all the massive Harps that keep the Elven land twisted out of sight are falling silent. No music, no land.

Can Nell and Evan cross the deadly frozen lake that surrounds their land, and fight through freezing blizzards? And if they do reach the Harp will they be able to overcome the two enemies waiting for them - Loki and Laki Winter? They are feared Ice Elven, a race so secretive that most young Elven think they’re myths used to scare them into being good. The scheming Winter twins are all too real, though, and they’ll stop at nothing to make sure the Harps stay silent.

Frost is a refreshing fantasy novel, one that I found myself immensely enjoying despite the fact that I don't really read middle grade. The fantasy world that Kathryn James has created in this series is intriguing and detailed, and the character development was great in this novel too.

It's winter time and that brings more trouble to Nell and her family. I'd add friends in that too, but she clearly tries to stay away from the group her sister Gwen hangs out with. Winter brings a pair of Ice Elven, Loki and Laki, to the area. They're very different from Forest Elven like Evan, and start stirring up trouble immediately. On top of that, the Harps in the Elven world are dying, which means the world itself is dying too. And Nell discovers that she and Evan are the only ones who can save it. So they venture out into the glacial world of the Ice Elven and its many obstacles in order to get the Mother Harp working again.

Nell's as spunky and courageous as ever, maybe even more so in this book. I love her character! How can you not? It's impossible not to love her. She's defiant and stubborn and incredibly smart, which for a thirteen-year-old is pretty damn awesome. I liked how loyal she is to the Elven throughout, that she never gives up on trying to save them.

Evan is of course extremely lovable too. He's sweet and adorable and it was cute to see the developing romance between him and Nell. Evan and Nell are pretty much inseparable, and they're as close as two people who've been best friends for years. They always stick up for each other and even though they go through a couple of rough patches, they end up best friends as always.

I also really liked the new characters - Loki and Laki. The similarity of their names is pretty hilarious! But they're definitely a dangerous duo. At least, they seem like it. Laki really wants to make friends with Nell, and she's quite bubbly. I was torn between a liking and a mistrust of her. Loki, on the other hand, is clearly on the bad side. He doesn't hesitate to make things difficult for Nell and Evan, but I ended up really liking him in the end.

Like I've mentioned, the world building in this novel is fantastic, and I could totally picture the different surroundings and the situations Nell got herself into. Everything wraps up really nicely in the end, so I guess there won't be another book in the series. Which is a shame, because it's so well developed! I'd love to see more of this. Overall, Frost is a fun and adventurous read, and I'd recommend this to all YA and MG fantasy lovers.

*Thank you to Kathryn James for sending a copy for review*

Rating: 4/5

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