Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book review: Amber Frost

Amber Frost
A girl shackled by the expectations of her wealthy parents, an intricately tattooed boy who is as intriguing as he is mysterious and a burning love steeped in ancient Celtic lore.


Amber Frost by Suzi Davis (ireadiwrite publishing)

18-year old Grace Lynn Stevenson has it all. She's wealthy, gorgeous, hangs out with the elite crowd and is dating the school's most popular guy.  Every girl's dream, right?

Yet for all that, she's plagued by strange dreams and a desperate and suffocating sense of loneliness that she would like nothing more than to escape from. 
Enter Sebastian Caldwood. 

Quirky, handsome and charming - Grace - in spite of her reluctance to get to know him, can't help but be drawn to the enigmatic and intricately tattooed boy.

But... Sebastian is hiding secrets.

He's older than he looks, never ages and gets what he wants simply because he wills it. In spite of his ability, he has little to no recollection of his past and no matter how much he wills it into being, remembrance continues to elude him. 

When he finds himself inadvertently beginning to remember (these moments of remembrances occurring more and more when he's around Grace), he realises that both he and Grace are tied together in more ways than one; and that there are dark, dangerous forces who would like nothing better than to destroy the powerful love and bond between them. 

My thoughts:

I first fell in love with this book when I stumbled across this on a fellow book blogger's blog. The book's beautiful title, Amber Frost, certainly brought to mind visions of beautiful snow-frosted landscapes, powdery white beauty and glistening icicles (I told you I was a sucker for books with pretty tittles).

Once I read the synopsis, I really began to have high hopes for the book. I admit to being especially curious about Sebastian and his ability as I had the feeling that his story was certainly going to be an interesting one.

And I was definitely right about that.

Unfortunately, aside from that, I thought that the novel fell just a little flat for me.

 As much as I don't mind characters being described as being beautiful, the problem I found with this novel, is that from the very beginning, we as the readers, are told and then constantly reminded of Grace's awe-striking beauty.

Paired with the fact that she is made to be aware of her beauty, but at the same time is shown to portray that she's just so tired of being seen as the beautiful, marble statue who is only appreciated because of her beauty, I personally felt that her "I'm tired of being beautiful attitude" did not really ring very true for me.

And here's why:


I think if the author had rather shown this instead of just adapting a description based narrative for this, then I might have found it a little more believable. It would also probably have influenced me to like Grace a little more than I did.

In the same way that I believe less is more, so too do I believe that in many instances showing is better than telling. And I would have definitely like to have seen more showing instead of just telling.

But, that's not to say that Grace is an altogether unlikeable character.

Because she's not. 

I couldn't help but sympathise with her coming from the rigid, wealthy and loveless household that she comes from. Frankly, her parents - especially her mother - are both horrible souls who expect Grace to live out dreams that were set out for her, instead of allowing Grace to make her own choices.

She's pretty much forced into a society that she does not want to be part of and is even dictated to about who she can and can't date.

I have to commend her for growing a little throughout the novel - something which becomes rather obvious when she meets the charming Sebastian (For me character growth and development in a novel is important, so this was something that I really enjoyed and appreciated seeing and experiencing).

I thought that I would enjoy Sebastian's back story much more and I did. In fact, his story is one of the reasons that certainly kept me reading.
 
I also thought his character was in some ways, a lot stronger than Grace's character and was one of the main reasons that motivated me into continuing this novel.

There was such a wealth of mystery around him and his tattoos, that it kept me on the edge of my seat and certainly kept me reading. When I eventually found out what they really meant, I was quite astounded as I definitely wasn't expecting it to be something so wonderfully unexpected.

There is one other aspect of the book that did bother me and it's a problem I recently had with Deadlands.

The use of repetitive vocabulary.

As I've said in my Deadlands review, this doesn't become an issue until it becomes so noticeable that you can't help but pick up on it. For me, having to read about Sebastian's voice being constantly described as lilting, musical and melodic was very bothersome for me.

But, for all this, there were some moments that really did shine through for me, and what did save the novel for me, was the twist near to the end.

Suzi Davis also has a remarkable gift for bringing settings alive and one of other my favourite aspects of the book was the beautiful, beautiful descriptions of powdery, snow-frosted settings that had me wishing I was in the book and not just outside of it.

Throughout the book, there are hints of magic, but it's really only towards the end that the Celtic element really comes out to play in a wonderfully intriguing manner that certainly makes me want to give the next book in this series a chance.

I'm a huge fan of Celtic magic, myth and legend, and admit that in spite of the various issues I had with this book, I'm definitely intrigued enough to want to give the second book in this series a chance.

All in all, I think Suzi has brought an intriguingly different aspect to the Young Adult genre, and one that I'd really like to see explored more.

A note of thanks and disclaimer: Special thanks to the author, Suzi Davis and her publishers for providing me with an e-book copy to review. The fact that I received this through the publishers in no way affects my opinion of the book.

4 comments:

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Meh. kind of hate when the author is always reminding you how chiseled their features are or how hypnotic and gorgeous their eyes are. I'm so over that. Thanks for the honest review. :)

Aisle B said...

Going to have to wait till you read the second one before I think of embarking on this book journey.

You've brought home again another eye opener review and thank you for this.

Keeping fingers crossed for book 2....

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

I think Sebastian's secret sounds interesting, but overall this one sounds pretty much the same as a lot of other books I've read.

I'm also not into authors pointing out how great characters look all the time.

Great review! :)

It's a Book Thing said...

WOAH! I have some catching up to do eh!?!?! Hahaha back with a flash!

Lovely Review (as per usual) Thanks for popping by the blog it is always a pleasure having you by - next time I will make sure Tarryn and I have chocolate cupcakes! :)

(Only because I know how to HTML tag it) Hop past the blogster to say hi!