This is a pretty fun new adult fantasy duology that I enjoyed quite a bit and really don’t see recommend a lot! Continue to read for reviews for both the first and second book!
The Frozen Crown
This is going to be a pretty short review because I am not sure how to get into this book without spoiling the HELL out of it and I don’t want to do that. SO here we go
The Frozen Crown follows our heroine, Askia, the rightful queen to a country currently being overtaken by an encroaching and evil empire that worked with her cousin to overthrow her. Askia is currently on the run with a small army to the other empire in the world begging for help to stop the emperor and reclaim her throne. Also there’s magic!
Most of the book is actually a pretty slow burn political intrigue with Askia navigating court and especially the men within it. This is way more interesting than it might sound. Not to make the easy comparison but really its right there: think of a New Adult Game of Thrones. Its obviously not nearly as involved being a fairly short novel but still the comparison fits. There are sides that constantly maneuver and change in pretty unexpected ways.
The magic system is pretty basic with more of the interest forming around different coalitions forming for and against magic users themselves. Askia’s particular skills allow for a compelling side character and insights.
Then there is the romance. This did not go the way I expected it to at all. It made for very interesting reading to not actually know where it was going (and I was pretty conflicted on my feelings about any of it!). I saw some reviews not like where the direction a certain character took but I actually kind of liked that it seemed realistic (some dudes suck!).
I gasped at the ending and am super excited to read the next book!
The Seventh Queen
So I very much want to chime into the book world and say that this duology (The Frozen Crown being the first!) deserves a bit more attention than its gotten. I hadn’t heard anything about it and just picked it up at a used book sale for a pretty cover. Is this amazing, ground breaking work? No. But it is a LOT better (in my opinion of course!) then a lot of books in the YA/NA fantasy field that seem to get weighed down in attention. Though maybe the no expectations made it better for me? *Shrug* Either way, I look forward to Greta Kelley’s work in the future as she maybe smooths out some of the rough edges from her debut novels.
Now I was super vague in the first book because honestly I liked how twisty the book ended up being for me. This one is less so but I don’t want to spoil anything still especially the ending of the last book. So sorry you don’t really get a summary.
Our main character Askia is back though of course, and I continued to love her. I’m basically a sucker for snark and someone willing to defend others. Our world building expanded and we got a look at other places and the society within them. With that, came new and interesting characters.
The big problem with this novel is the pacing though. I don’t know if Kelly was trying to avoid the dreaded ‘second book syndrome’ by creating just two books, but what we ended up with was a book that went slow, slow, slow and then super duper fast. I’m a total weirdo in the book community who LOVES benign world building. You could tell me how taxes work in the society and I would be like huh, cool! The first half of this book is a LOT of that (well ok, not taxes but world building) and political maneuvering and backstabbing and I liked it! buuuut I kept looking at the page count and wondering how on earth it would be wrapped up well enough for satisfaction with less and less time available. I was right to be worried. The fate of two kingdoms is wrapped up in about twenty pages. That’s not enough! And while I understood the reasoning of the ending, I think it wasn’t the best move to have us so separated from characters and places we had already grown attached to. I could have read an entire third book of Askia dealing with all the fallout from this one. We don’t even know the fates of some characters! (….spin off novel?)
I do hope in the future Kelly gives herself or is given free reign to make the epic political drama/romance I think she is capable of. Because here, I think she was a little hobbled by fitting it into a neat little duology. I will one hundred percent check out her next books.