The Frost Eater

Posted on April 9th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Reviews

Today’s review is for The Frost Eater by Carol Beth Anderson. Spoiler (for the review, not the book) I absolutely loved this book. I feel like the last few reviews are making a liar out of me when I say I don’t give out five teaspoon reviews often.

About the Author

Carol Beth Anderson lives in Texas with her husband, two kids, a dog and a bunch of fish. She has some hobbies I can definitely appreciate, such as making sourdough bread and knitting. Like many of the other authors I’ve feature on the blog she is extremely active on Twitter. And now TikTok, apparently, haha. You can find her on Twitter here.

Book Details

The book is available in eBook and Paperback from Amazon, as well as in audio from Audible. The eBook is $2.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited. The paperback is $15.99 USD, which is what I paid.

The paperback is roughly 385 pages of actual story (there’s a sneak peek of book 2 at the end I’m not counting). It’s a pretty large trim size book, so there’s a lot there.

4 teaspoons of tea leaves

Design


External design first. I really like the cover on this book. I do think it’s maybe a little busy for my tastes, but it is genre appropriate and the text is easy to read. I might have clicked on this on Amazon. However, I got sucked in by snippets and tweets about the 3rd book of the series, so that’s hard to say. I give the cover 4 teaspoons.

Interior design. The book is nicely formatted. I did not notice any issues. The scenes are well delineated in both print and eBook. All around a professional looking interior. There’s really nothing special, no extra charm or fluff. 4 teasppons.

Average for design is 4 teaspoons.


4 teaspoons of tea leaves

Premise

Click here to read the blurb.

I find the premise of this interesting. Two young people from very different backgrounds form an uneasy partnership to find a third missing teenager. It has a quest-y sort of aspect to it and fits some tropes. Searching for a lost love, for example. However, just reading the blurb it doesn’t feel like an overly rehashed story.

4 teaspoons.

5 teaspoons of tea leaves

Characters

Anderson’s characters are wonderfully imperfect creations. Krey is an arrogant hot-head, but underneath that beats a heart of gold. Nora is naive and more than a little socially awkward, but she genuinely cares for her friends and her people. Ovrun, who has no special gifts or station, is arguably the best of them all.

I really appreciated how Nora and Ovrun actually had practical reasons to deny their budding relationship, rather than just a vague “duty” sort of argument you often see in monarch type fantasy books.

The genuine friendship and affection that develops between the main trio is very well written. It develops over time and in a believable manner. There’s a slow opening up as Krey learns to trust Nora.

5 teaspoons for characters.

5 teaspoons of tea leaves

Plot

There is a lot of plot here. I was starting to get suspicious of the direction it was eventually going to go pretty quickly, but Anderson really kept me second-guessing my own instincts. Everything is well paced. I was never bored. Once the story really got going I had a hard time putting the book down to do other things. Nothing stood out to me as being a crutch or out of place.

5 teaspoons for plot.

5 teaspoons of tea leaves

Worldbuilding

There is so much to unpack in the world-building here. From the magic system, to the history, to the biology.

It’s not really explained outright how humans came to be on the planet the story takes place on (after all, it’s in the past and a lot of records are toast), but to me it felt like the hints pointed to space travel, perhaps? Definitely a sci-fi flavor. There are of course plenty of alien speices that are now perfectly normal to the humans living on the planet that drive home how this is not Earth.

However, something apocalyptic happened that knocked out half the population and the tech. That event is referred to as “The Day.” Definitely gives the book a sort of post-apocalyptic vibe, although many generations have passed. The little snippets of Nora’s ancestor’s memoir really bring what it was like to live right after “The Day” into perspective and deepen this aspect of the worldbuilding.

The fallout from “The Day” results in some interesting things besides death and mayhem, including the onset of magical abilities in the humans who survived. I really enjoyed the magic system. The only other magic system I’ve read about that is even remotely similar was from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. This combined with dragons really amped up the fantasy vibe.

Anyway, I could go on and on about all the cool details in the worldbuilding, but I might end up giving away spoilers. 5 teaspoons.

5 teaspoons of tea leaves

Writing

I really enjoyed Anderson’s overall style and tone. The prose is engaging and the dialogue is both dynamic and believable. It really suits the genre without feeling forced on overly juvenile, which is something I’ve noticed in some “YA” books.

5 teaspoons of tea leaves

Audio

This is a new section for me. The Frost Eater is the first book I’ve reviewed on the blog to actually have an audio edition available at the time of reviewing.

I listened to portions of the book in audio, alternating between listening and reading the paperback copy. The sections I listened to were really well done. Anderson is an excellent narrator, and I didn’t notice any real difference from professional audio production. Maybe an audio snob would, but this casual listener did not.

5 teaspoons.

Final Thoughts

The Frost Eater is hands down the best YA book I have read in a long time. Maybe ever. Someone give this woman a movie deal and then don’t botch the adaptation, please.

Although the genre is slightly different, this really put me in the mind of YA bombshells like Divergent and Hunger Games. I think it’s that partly post-apocalyptic flavor. Yet, it had that fantasy/sci-fi edge that I personally really crave.

All in all, excellent book. I’m really looking forward to diving into the next two in the trilogy.

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Review Follow-up: The Shield Road

Posted on April 8th 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Reviews

Since I didn’t have a blog post on Monday and I just got some fun book mail today, I thought I’d do a quick follow-up to my ARC review of The Shield Road by Dewi Hargreaves. I specifically want to address the physical book since I didn’t have that available when I did the review.

I think my appreciation of the cover design went up seeing it in print. Little details I didn’t really notice looking at it on the computer screen pop out to me more on the print cover. (For example, the tiny moon on the banner over the castle and the embossed look of the lettering).

The inside pretty much looks just like the PDF I had for the ARC. I haven’t read the whole thing over again carefully (obviously, since I just got it today), but flipping through, I didn’t notice any issues—overall just a nice, readable book.

Side note for American readers, this is formatted in the British style for quotation marks. I didn’t mention that in my initial review.

Anyway, I’m really excited to add this to the shelf with all the books I’ve reviewed on the blog so far.

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A Short Camp NaNo Update

Posted on April 2nd 2021 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Apologies for being late on the posting today. What’s 12 hours, right?

This is just a quick update post, nothing super fancy. Today is Day 2 of the April Camp NaNoWriMo. So far I have managed to keep up the meager word goals I have set for myself. I think it’s a wee bit early yet to say that things are coming together, but I am feeling good about the draft so far.

My goals for April are fairly modest. I’m shooting for 23,000 words of Finding the Dragon. I was roughly 4,000 words in at the end of March and I haven’t written yet today, so April 1st was surprisingly productive.

My total target word goal for the book is 80,000, so even after camp is over I’m going to have a long way to go. Still, I think this is a nice start.

Anyways, I will be back to my regular time and content on Monday with another indie book review.

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