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In Her Veins

Elly Blake’s Frostblood Saga continues—both the storyline and the too-familiar fantasy feeling—with Fireblood.

In Her Veins

BOOK REPORT for Fireblood (Frostblood Saga #2) by Elly Blake

Cover Story: If It Ain’t Broke
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Familiar Fantasy
Bonus Factor: Equality
Anti-Bonus Factor: Bridge Book
Relationship Status: Acquaintances

Danger, Will Robinson! Fireblood is the second book in the Frostblood Saga. If you have not read the first book in the series—Frostblood—turn away now to avoid possible spoilers. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. If you’re caught up with the series, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: If It Ain’t Broke

This cover goes nicely with the cover of the first novel in the series, and it’s equally to the point. But there’s something that’s been bothering me about this series’ covers for a while: I expect the title of the book to be Fire Blood, not Fireblood, because of the way it’s separated.

Don’t mind me, just over here picking nits.

The Deal:

After helping Arcus win back his kingdom, Ruby’s found a place in his court. She’s called Lady, and afforded all the comforts that come with the honorific, but it seems like very few people want her around. And if she’s being honest with herself, she’s not sure if she wants to be there, either, even if it means being near to Arcus. Being the lone Fireblood in a society of Frostbloods isn’t a comfortable position, regardless of how good her situation might be.

So when a mysterious stranger shows up at the castle and offers Ruby a chance to visit Sudesia, the home of Firebloods and her ancestors, Ruby is anxious to go. She becomes even more so when she learns that the information she needs to destroy the Minax is there, too.

BFF Charm: Meh

Don’t get me wrong, I like Ruby well enough. I’d be fine chatting with her at social events or running into her occasionally at the store. But I struggled in this book to really connect with her, and I don’t think I’d be inviting her out for drinks or over to my house to spend time one-on-one. Not that she’d have much time for hanging out, mind you, with the whole paranormal threat to her world looming and all.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Although Ruby has a good, sarcastic rapport with the mysterious Sudesian stranger, she spends much of the book thinking about Arcus and how impossible it is for the two of them to be together. As much as I dislike love triangles, bumping the action up a bit between Ruby and the MLD would have almost been preferable.

Talky Talk: Familiar Fantasy

I said as much in my review of Frostblood, but it remains true: Fireblood is a YA fantasy that feels much like many other YA fantasies. The story is entertaining, and Elly Blake has done some unique things with her worldbuilding, but the plot and players are pretty typical. And, sadly, Fireblood feels a little like a rehash of the first book. There’s the MLD who Ruby has a somewhat antagonistic relationship with but who appreciates her skills and helps her train them; the menacing ruler who forces Ruby to face dangerous, life-threatening situations to prove her worth; the discoveries that Ruby isn’t just a normal peasant girl; etc. I spent the whole book looking for that something that would set Fireblood truly apart, and never found it.

Bonus Factor: Equality

On her trip to Sudesia, Ruby sails on a ship that is staffed by both men and women, and the women are viewed as equals. It’s not really talked about as a thing, either, which makes it even better; it just is.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Bridge Book

A few big plot twists happened in Fireblood, but for the most part it definitely felt like it was only serving to get us from Frostblood to Nightblood (the third book in the series, which releases next year).

Relationship Status: Acquaintances

I know I previously said we should be friends, Book, but I, uh, am going to get real busy with work in the near future and might not be able to hang out as much. I still like you! But we might not see as much of each other for a while.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Little, Brown Books, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Fireblood is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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