|Embers in a Dark Frost by Kelly Keaton|
November 8, 2012
Genre: New Adult (18+ recommended)
Content: some scenes of sensuality and sex, minimal offensive language
Source: Copy from author for honest review
The Fire Breathers have come. The Underworld calls. A choice must be made…My Review:
With her feared half blood and flame-colored hair, DEIRA D'ANU is a constant reminder of human betrayal and the war that claimed the light from Innis Fail. Now, darkness and frost creep across the land, strengthening the Lord of the Underworld. War is imminent—an allegiance with the Fire Breathers is vital. When their champion, Balen, sees Deira, he believes she is the key to finding the light and stopping the dark frost....
But the Underworld calls to Deira, tempting her to turn her back on a world that never cared and betray the champion willing to sacrifice everything to keep her safe and save his world from darkness.
Embers in a Dark Frost is an entrancing read that captured my interest from the beginning. Kelly draws us immediately into a world of not only magic and prophecy, but of prejudice and fear. The world of Innis Fail is slowly dying, having lost their light. Their magic is slowly weakening without this light. They have cut themselves off from the humans and are now preparing for war. But there is a prophecy unbeknownst to most of the people about how they are to get that light back, with the help of someone with flame-colored hair... Deira.
Deira D'Anu is our reluctant heroine. She has been hidden away from most of her people, treated as a servant or slave despite her royal blood, mistreated, scorned, hated, and had even been left for dead, because she is a red-headed halfling. Half humans are despised and Deira is no exception. Most of her life has been spent being despised by others, so when she finds herself in the position of being the one to help save them, but at someone else's expense, it made sense to me her conflict of whether she really wanted to help these people or not. What she has always wanted was to make her own choices. What I liked about Deira is her honest perusal of herself. She felt herself a coward at times, but she was also strong and determined. She was modest, yet came to appreciate her unique beauty. She was humbled by her people, yet with Balen found someone she could be more equal with.
Balen is our champion. I love that he is described as this beautiful man, this honorable, loyal warrior who would do anything for his people including die for them. Yet as this great champion and leader, he is also humble and works beside his people, as opposed to over them the way Deira's grandfather does. And he looks at Deira as a person, without prejudice, but with honor. Being nice to look at is a nice quality to have as well. But Balen is not without flaws - his secrecy (along with Deria's) was unnecessary after a while, his past was scarred and his past choices were not without regret.
I really liked the chemistry between Deira and Balen. I think they brought out so many good qualities with each other. I also liked that, despite some of the secrecy, they were able to be honest with each other in many other aspects of their interactions. He helped her mature and interact in a way she was unable to before from her stiffled upbringing, and she helped him see things from a new perspective and appreciate who she was beyond a tool of the prophecy. Their physical and emotional attraction was believable. This is a New Adult book and contains scenes of sensuality/sexuality, which are well written and not as heavy as some other books I've read, but still make this above a Young Adult level.
There is no shortage of action and forward momentum in this story. I never found myself bored. The storyline itself is quite interesting and had me wanting to know more about this world (while trying to keep all the names straight in my head). Kelly weaves legends and folklore into her story, and creates a beautiful setting and plot. I like the balance and battle between fate and choice, struggle and acceptance. I also liked the twists. We are supposed to hate Nox in the beginning. He's the bad guy. But getting to know him more, I could empathize with him as well. Maybe, possibly, kinda, sorta, like him?
The ending left me in a weird place, and I immediately had to seek out if there was going to be a sequel (which there is!). If there was no sequel, the ending would have been way more irritating and unresolved than it is. With a sequel, I definitely want to know more, and look forward to continuing this journey, preferably sooner rather than later.