Beasts of the Frozen Sun in the first book in a series written by Jill Criswell and will be published by Blackstone Publishing on August 06, 2019
I was given an Advanced copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
“Burn Brightly, Love Fiercely For all Else is Dust.”
Lira, has heard the story of her ancestor Allira since she was a child. Her clan tells the story of how Allira betrayed her people by falling in love with a man who was intent on destroying the land leading to the God’s War. Even generations later, Lira’s clan knows the effects that the war had on the world and the split that occurred between “the True Gods” and “the Fallen Ones”. Lira has grown up wondering why her mother named her after a woman who is so reviled. Lira is god-gifted with the ability to read men’s souls, and currently stands at the precipice of the greatest decision of her life: to devote herself to Allira’s temple and learn to master her gift, or find a man and get married. Lira, however, longs for a third option, freedom to make her own choices and to carve out her own place in the world.
One night as she is wandering the beach, she notices a man who has washed ashore from a ship wreck. She recognizes the man as one of the feared marauders from the Land of the Frozen Sun. Against her better judgement, she takes the man in and nurses him back to health. She discovers the the man is named Reyker and that he is part of an army that wants to invade her home of Glasnith and take it for themselves. She is charged by the Gods to help Reyker reclaim his humanity in order to save the lives of her people. As Lira and Reyker grow closer, enemies encroach on all sides, and Lira must choose which side of the battle to fight on before it’s too late.
Will she and Ryker be doomed to repeat Allira’s mistakes or will they find out the truth and prevent history from repeating itself.
At first I thought the book was a fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde, but a quick google search proved that while the events in this book seem similar to the 2006 Tristan and Isolde movie with James Franco, it actually doesn’t resemble the “real” Tristan and Isolde legend which involves a love potion. So now I really don’t know if the resemblance to the movie is coincidental or intentional, but either way this book is fantastic.
This book is full of magic and myth, Gods and man. Lira wants the freedom to make her own choices, but is restricted to either devoting herself to a temple and pursuing her gifts or marrying a man and likely moving away from her home and family. She wishes she had the ability to make her own choices, and the freedom to pursue her own dreams.
Reyker, is also trapped, but in his case he has been forced into the service of the un-killable warlord, The Dragon, who wants to conquer all the nations of the world. Over the years that he has been forced to serve in the Dragon’s army he has lost hope that he will ever be free and he is sure that his sins have doomed his soul for eternity. He is the ultimate in “redeemable bad guys” because underneath all of the bad things he has done, Reyker has never lost his urge to protect the innocent.
The romantic relationship between the two of them, while expected because of the summary, is done gradually and in a very organic way. I didn’t think the development was rushed, and instead thought that the way that Lira learns to see past her prejudices is very beautifully done
All in all, this is a wonderful first book and I can’t wait to see where the author will take the story next!
YA readers looking for a fantasy novel with a huge helping of Star-Crossed romance.
While nothing in this book prohibits younger YA readers from reading and enjoying this book, I feel like this will be especially good for the older YA group (16-18). I also think that adults who enjoy YA will like this book a lot too, so the 18-22 year olds and the college crowd.
There is some sexual content but it’s more implied than anything and the scene is near the end of the book and is pretty brief.
Themes of rape and sexual assault throughout the book. There are quite a few war scenes, and while nothing is explicitly stated it is heavily implied that women are being taken captive against their will. There is one scene where a character is nearly sexually assaulted and then is nearly forced to sexually assault someone else- this scene is disturbing because of what is happening but is not graphic and neither event happens.
Scenes of war and bloodshed throughout the book
Physical abuse by a parental figure including a pretty graphic public beating.
Staying up all night to finish the book
Selling your soul to Jill Criswell for the second book, because her characters have already stolen your heart
Crying a rivers worth of tears
I could go on and on about this book, but I’ll just leave it at: Preorder this book now, you won’t regret it. It’s a wonderful read full of strong well rounded characters and a believable romance story that will make you swoon.
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Check out my review of a similar series A Court of Thorns and Roses
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