July 5th 2012
Frost is cursed - possessed by a wolf demon that brings death everywhere she goes. Desperate to find a cure, she flees her home, only to be captured by the Ruan Hill Guard. Trapped until she can prove she is not an enemy, Frost grows increasingly close to the Guard’s charismatic leader Luca and his second in command, the tortured Arian. Torn between two very different men, Frost fears that she may not be able to protect either of them ... from herself.
I've been really, really excited about this book ever since it was announced, especially after I read and loved Shadows on the Moon last year, even though I was little apprehensive about the fact that there's a big love triangle in it (you know how I feel about love triangles.) But I really didn't need to worry at all! I really loved this book, and I really need to read the rest of Zoe's books (though I think I'll have to spread them out so that I don't have to wait too long without her books before The Night Itself comes out, which I am ridiculously excited about.)
This book was really weird for me, because it was full of things that usually really irritate me in books (eg: Love Triangle - and yes, I will keep on talking about the love triangle. It will be a recurring thing in this review. Frost herself had certain traits at the beginning that usually set me on edge, ect) but I found them being some of my favourite aspects of the story. They were just all pulled off so well and were so integral to the story and character development that it didn't bother me at all. I think it also had a lot to do with the fact that I loved all the characters so much that I wanted her to be with both of them, because there was no way that this love triangle could end happily. Which is another thing I really liked (well, appreciated) about it. It wasn't afraid to end badly. One of the main things that really irritates me about love triangles is that they often feel really half hearted, like a bad attempt to ratchet up romantic tension in the place of an actual plot, and because it's so obvious who the girl will end up with, you're just not invested in it at all. And even though with this book, I could kind of tell who Frost would end up with, that didn't impact how much I cared about her relationship with the other boy either. They all felt like real people, and their feelings for each other all made vast and believable developments to their personalities.
I also felt like I'd have some issues connecting with Frost, because to herself, at least, she's a person who runs away from her problems and she doesn't really like herself all that much, but then I remembered how at the beginning of Shadows I'd thought I'd have a bit of an issue with Suzume, but then I ended up really liking her. It's all about the character development (I'm really starting to feel like a douche when I say stuff about character development. I always talk about it like I know stuff, which I generally don't.) By the end of the book, I really loved Frost because she's brave and determined and kind, if not sometimes a bit coarse about it, and she'd always been the person who Luca had thought she was, even if she couldn't see it. And that's the wondrous thing about her. That she realises she is the person she wanted to be, and that she did have the strength to fight the wolf and own her badassery, and that she wasn't a bad guy. She was a hero.
Luca and Arian were also both really, really great, and I loved seeing how all the things that had happened to them during the book had impacted them as people. Luca was definitely the most interesting, and I was really surprised by what happened to him. I knew that something bad would happen, but I really didn't expect the story to be taken in that direction, though I am so glad for it. I mean, it was a horrible thing to happen to him, and I felt really terrible and I just wanted to give him a hug after all the awful stuff he'd been through (though at that point I don't think he would've appreciated it. Or let me near him at all, really), but it also felt like a natural reaction for him to have. There's no way that he could've stayed the Golden Boy who brings hope to all the strays he picks up for the whole book. I'm still really pleased with how it ended though. Kind of. I cried.
I do have to admit, though, that as much as I adore both Frost and Luca, Arian was my favourite character. Not as a love interest, but just as a person. What can I say, I have a bit of a soft spot for the stand-offish boy who's secretly really actually quite nice and just pushes people away to save himself pain. I thought it was really sweet the way he slowly opened up the Frost, and there were moments between them that I just wanted to frame or pause or whatever because of how lovely they were. I won't lie, I think one of my favourite scenes in the whole book was when they were singing together around the campfire. Someone with artistic ability should draw that for me. I would genuinely hang it on my wall. I also have to say, though, that as far as the love triangle was concerned, after about 2/3s through the book, I really wanted them to be best friends as opposed to romantic partners. I will also say that I think how this book ended was really the only way it could've ended to allow what did happen to, well, happen. Though I kind of hate Zoe a little bit for it. BEWARE. SHE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART.
I'm actually really proud of this review. Usually when I love a book I'm completely incoherent and no one can really make that much sense of my rambles, but this actually makes me sound relatively intelligent! Yay! Honestly, though, this book is just really good, and I feel the need to push it into all of your hands. ALL OF YOU.