I got The Frozen Crown on audiobook a while ago and only recently finished it. Not because it wasn’t good, I did like it, I think I’ve just been more interested in print books lately. Askia is the heir to the kingdom of Saravesh. Her kingdom is invaded by the ruler of the Roven Empire, Radovan, who wants her for her magic abilities. Magic abilities she has to keep hidden because of the Shazir, magic hunting priests and zealots killed her parents for plot reasons. She travels to Vashir to get help from Emperor Armaan.
What I really liked from this book: there’s a lot of courtly intrigue and diplomacy. It’s a slow build. I really loved that Askia swats Prince Iskander down because he can’t help her or her people, and she’s just not that into him. That was great! Older YA probably would have put them together and then had a square jawed 20 something play him in the movie. Askia stumbles on the magic guild in Vishir, and the head of the guild is Armaan’s principal wife, Queen Ozura. She starts learning and training her magic, which has to do with the dead. They become reluctant allies.
What I really did not like about this book: So after Iskander is eliminated as a romantic contender, it becomes clear that Armaan is interested in her. And look, the author neatly outlines why Askia should make an alliance with him. But marriage? That seemed like a giant leap. Also, you spent the entire book telling me and showing me Askia is smart. All of the sudden she has one encounter with Armaan (I’ll give him credit, he’s very smooth) and she forgets she’d be one of many wives? You spent an entire book establishing her fierce independence. It took me out of the story a bit. Oh, and the necklace. If you’ve read the book, let’s talk about the evil necklace of evil.
It ends on a cliffhanger and sets up the second of a duology. I will read it. I did like this book for the most part and look forward to more world building from this author.