Sunday, June 5, 2016

Brief Rant: Frostfire


by Amanda Hocking
Book 1 of The Kanin Chronicles

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  1.5 Stars

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

Frostfire is really NOT a terrible book.

I just didn't like it.

In fact, the world in Kanin Chronicles DOES do quite a decent job balancing modern society with a somewhat, age-old world of trolls who are all still stuck in their own traditional monarchies.  Setting aside the fact that I know nothing of the world of Amanda Hocking’s previous books about the Trylle (and now learning that this book was set in that world), I could come to like the setting and the culture she's created.  Also setting aside the reasoning behind why trolls require changelings to luxuriate their greedy communities (which I don’t really agree with, but whatever, it’s their culture), I could STILL learn to like the world and the culture built around the different troll tribes.

It’s really actually quite creative and sparked an interest in wanting to know about the different tribes around the world of trolls, if I were so inclined to go and check out the other books based in this same world.  (Which I'm really not, so this might be a moot statement.)

What I DON’T like, unfortunately, are the underdeveloped characters, the lackluster storyline, the uninspiring narration and writing style, the random uses of pop culture references that are misused in at least three instances, the logic fail of the troll-changeling culture, and the multiple logic fails behind all of Bryn’s condescending, yet contradictory monologues of righteous tirade as to why the society of Kanin and the whole changeling thing works and why Bryn is the best tracker in the world and why everyone should see things her way and what a true tracker is really like...

And I also don’t really like Bryn much either because she just lacks development most of all as the main character.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I like that she's strong and independent and can hold her own and is uber kickass--we all know fiction lacks a lot of such strong heroines and I could have really liked her as well.  But she's so all-powerful and she's always right and knows what's best for everyone and the community and she's so perfect... what's left to develop?  Her biggest flaw is that she's a condescending bitch who is rude to her parents and her friends, throws childish tantrums, and lacks empathy and open-mindedness; and even as the end of the book rolled around, I'm not sure that particular trait was going to change.

Bryn is nineteen, the greatest tracker EVAR!!  And she supposedly went through something quite tragic and life-changing when her father was (almost) killed by someone she claims to have had strong feelings for at the beginning of the book.  And yet, even with a Life-Changing Event in her past, she still acts like a child and throws tantrums when she doesn't get her way and is so concerned with her love life that she'll go out of her way to be rude to a perfectly nice girl she doesn't even know just because said nice girl is dating the guy she (doesn't) have feelings for.

And she also gets upset and criticizes one of her best friends after said best friend announces that she's pregnant.  And it wasn't just a simple "Oh my God!  Why didn't you tell me?" kind of upset.  It was a straight out "What the fuck?  You've now ruined my life!" kind of upset.  I mean, someone else gets pregnant and Bryn takes it as a personal insult.

I'm not sure I follow her logic there... And AGAIN with the over-dramatic behavior!

And also, the entire story was kind of boring and long-winded with 80% of it feeling very much like random tangent anecdotes and only 20% of it actually being about the main conflict. Oh, and the romance was also laughably predictable and eye-roll worthy too. So I don't have a summary for this book because I don't even really know what story we were aiming to tell despite the fact that I have an inkling about the direction the story was taking.

At least the ending ended on an exciting note, even if it DID supply an abrupt and unsatisfying cut-off cliff hanger in which I turned the page after the last sentence and went, "Wait, it's done?" but not in that "Man, I wish there were more!" way; it was more of a "Hmm... that was... unexpected... and untactful..." way.

Overall Thoughts: I have a lot more thoughts written down about all the many ways I don't like Bryn, but I'll spare everyone my soapboxes and personal tirades.  I figure, this book is so popular that maybe I just don't understand it's popularity.  Maybe I have to go back and read Amanda Hocking's first few novels about the Trylle... except that the small spark of interest I have is very much overshadowed by the many negatives I developed about this book.  Chances are, I won't be finishing this series and neither will I be interested in picking up her previous books.

Her writing style is probably not my cuppa.

On a final note, it bugged me a little bit that there was sort of an underlying implication that, after having a baby, the trackers who are female pretty much give up their career as a tracker, as if having a baby means you're immediately a stay-at-home mother and nothing in the book seems to imply otherwise.

It's that whole deal where a lot of women in fiction I've read are made to choose between career or family (or career or love) and can only have one or the other, but never both.  It rankles me just a little bit, because if the men in fiction (or even in real life, really) are allowed to have family and love and career... why is it automatically assumed that women can't juggle all three as well?

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in February 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment