Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Book Review: Frost Arch by Kate Bloomfield
No, I'm not talking about cyborgs or futuristic ideals of space crafts and alien technology, either. I'm talking about the mutation of our most basic possibilities. I'm talking about a future where our ignorance has destroyed the world that we know and what has risen from the ashes of our destruction holds the key to powers beyond our wildest expectations.
This is how Frost Arch begins, a tantalizing look into the world we once knew and left behind. A world where humans are considered the scum of the earth, powerless and pathetic. A world where all that now exists in peaceful cohabitation are the Mages - advanced humans with abilities beyond everyday reach.
Avalon Redding is one such Mage. Barely eighteen years of age she wields the gift of fire yet she is unable to control it, unable to prevent hurting those she loves. So she leaves her family in the dead of night and heads for the city of Frost Arch. Her future seemingly grim, she stumbles upon Hawthorne, a winged, fox-like creature that offers her comfort and adoration when her confidence is at its lowest.
Hiding both the secret of a deserted family and her new furry friend, Avalon takes a job in a wealthy manor, her days soon filled with the tiresome whims of the rich. But her free time is consumed with the mysteries of her master's past, a rapidly growing Hawthorne, and her new friends Jack and Camryn.
Jack a healer and Camryn an animal whisperer, they soon find that Avalon is both naive yet endearing, causing more trouble than seems plausible. They say curiosity killed the cat, but for Avalon, curiosity is a part of her nature, leading her into a precarious situation that soon sees her without her power of fire for protection. Will she be able to overcome the trials that befall her? Will she be able to save the ones she loves and stay strong within herself?
Time will tell.
Frost Arch was a surprisingly enjoyable read. After the opening Prologue, I expected a lot of destruction and mayhem, suppression and anger. What unfolded was what I've come to think of as the future written in the past. Quaint villages with taverns and market places, manor homes with servants and stables. The mixture of magic carefully integrated into an era seemingly left in our past. I was captivated by the forgotten time and imagery of make-believe, and I was amazed at how natural it seemed to splice the fantasy proposition with something of a historical fiction.
Frost Arch was well written, the characterisation right on the money for my tastes. I didn't doubt the intentions of the characters at all, and no conversation or exchange seemed unbelievable or rushed. The story line itself was for lack of a better word sweet, although, there were moments of torment that gave the overall plot more depth. There wasn't a lot of action or violence which I tend to like to keep a novel fast-paced, however, the docile nature of the story lended itself quite nicely to the temperament of the characters and the era in which was transcribed.
I rate this book four out of five stars. It was a most enjoyable read that I will definitely venture for the second book in the series to discover what happens to the lovely Avalon, the tireless Jack, and the lovable Hawthorne.
Synopsis: Avalon lives in a post-apocalyptic world where Mages are the dominant lifeforms and humans are uneducated and enslaved. As a fire Mage who can't control her powers, Avalon flees her home town after almost killing her little sister.
What Avalon doesn't expect, however, is that her life will take a dramatic change when she moves to Frost Arch, a snowy city where she gets a job as a maid, and befriends a local healer.
Before she knows it, Avalon is on the run from the law.