In arc review

ARC REVIEW: Shadow Frost

Title: Shadow Frost
Author: Coco Ma
Genre(s):  Young Adult, Fantasy
Release: October 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭,5/5

"Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.
Not one has ever returned."

What is this book about?
Set in the fictional kingdom of Axaria, Shadow Frost follows crown princess Asterin who teams up with her close friends to defeat a legendary demon that has been plaguing the lands. However, as the group sets out to kill it, they find out secrets about themselves that have long been buried. 

What did I think of Shadow Frost?
This book left me very torn. On the one hand, I enjoyed the characters. Luna, in particular, was great; she goes from seemingly innocent lady in waiting to someone with a hidden past and complex emotions. Asterin, too, was intriguing (taking in consideration some of her flaws). I liked the other characters, but these two stood out for me. The men, then, didn't quite do it for me, in the sense that most of them followed the typical YA-male formula. At times, the interactions felt a little contrived and maybe even a little bit childish (which isn't bad per sé considering this is written by such a young author and heavily focuses on characters in their teens), however, some of the character moments reminded me a lot of the MG genre, which might've been a better fit for this book?

Next, comes my main issue with this book: the writing. While I understood what direction the author meant to take with this book, it didn't actually manage to go there for me. While the writing is fairly simple, it isn't bad per sé. There is certainly a LOT of potential. However, my main issue with it is that most of the writing doesn't feel organic. The plot of the book reads like a standalone (which is why I was surprised by the open ending which suggests this will be a series?). The amount of plot-points and twists crammed into this book was simply too much, which is odd considering most of the world-building is done in a few pages. It felt like the author was trying to fit a trilogy within one single book, which just didn't completely work for me personally. The time-jumps that signalled personal flashbacks for the characters, as well as the many different plot-points just felt a little bit messy and chaotic.

While I didn't think the plot was insanely innovative (you're able to guess the villain fairly early on, not much of a surprise there), I did really enjoy the overall story and direction of the book. It wasn't a bad book at all, I just think the writing could use some work (in the sense of story structure!). 

All in all, this book did manage to intrigue me for future books in (what seems to be) the Shadow Frost series, albeit it does have its flaws. 

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