Bitter Frost by Kailin Gow
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Bitter Frost was a good read that sucked me in as I read, and I appreciated getting immersed into this world, with Breena and her secret heritage. However, I do feel that it was far too brief and seemed....unfinished, and I don't mean the cliffhanger ending. I felt a little cheated that it was so short. It was 196 pages. Long enough for me to get sucked in, and then it was over. Of course, this is a series, so I am encouraged to keep reading. I'm all for series, but I think this could have been twice as long and delivered more a satisfying read. I felt kind of annoyed that I have to buy the next book for $10 to get some closure when this book could have been twice as long and I would have probably given it a higher rating, because I would have been much more satisfied with the book.
The ideas were so good, so I did wish I could rate this one more highly, but I just needed more. I wanted to learn more about Breena, sink under her skin. I wanted more worldbuilding. I wanted to see Kian more clearly, and maybe like him or feel more compelled towards him as a person as Breena apparently felt. I am hoping that Breena's friend Logan will get more stage time in the next book, because I am loving him, big time. He's such a sweetie, but also tough as nails. He was so caring with Breena, and he clearly adores her. I feel that a relationship with Logan has a lot of potential, moreso than with Kian. Kian, I wasn't super-fond of him. He seemed a little empty to me. I didn't really feel that the conflict between his feelings for Breena and his duty to his kingdom was that compelling. To me, it seemed as though he could easily leave Breena as second fiddle to his duties. And I'm supposed to root for Breena to choose for him? Um, not so much. Now Logan, drool, swoon, sigh!
Let me just take the time to address a pet peeve I have with far too many young adult fantasy books now--the love triangle. Why do most of these books have to have a love triangle? Is this an absolute requirement for publication? How about a more deep, more developed relationship progression between the heroine and one love interest? How about more focus on the development of the character? How about more action and less "which guy should I choose?" I'm just saying. Maybe I'm the only one who has an issue with this. I mean no disrespect against Ms. Gow or any other YA writer. I just wish that this plot device would stop being so heavily relied on in YA fantasy. I'm not the target audience, since I'm in my 30s, so maybe this is a thing that the younger readers enjoy. But I think a book can be perfectly enjoyable with a heroine who has one love interest. And, as I addressed above, I didn't feel that the love triangle aspect rang true. To me it's an obvious choice who Breena should end up with. If I'm going to be pulled in two directions, I need to feel like the heroine could go with either choice, and Kian ain't ringing my bell right now.
So....It's hard for me with this book. It had a lot of potential. Some great ideas. But not enough here for me to be blown away. That's why I couldn't give it more than 3.5 stars. Honestly, I am miffed that I will have to shell out the not inconsiderable bucks for the next book, afraid I will feel the same dissatisfaction, but I will be coming back for more. That seems like a Pyrrhic victory to me.
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