Fireblood: The Frostblood Saga, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Fireblood: The Frostblood Saga, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Twisty sequel with vengeful god and a fiery female hero.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The mythology in this saga is based on gods representing the four winds, which is present in many world mythologies. So are fire gods and gods of war. Readers can compare the stories the author presents with real-world myths.

Positive Messages

Much about overcoming darkness/evil, no matter how difficult, and choosing light/good. Power is an intoxicating temptation here, shown to corrupt and harden hearts against suffering. Two races fight, one almost annihilating the other, showing a world deeply divided by prejudice. The more personal sacrifice, the more strides made toward reconciliation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ruby sacrifices her own happiness to work toward peace. She's torn about whether to pledge her fealty to her homeland and queen, giving up a say in what she thinks is right, or following her own mind about what needs to be done. She chooses her own path.

Violence

Fighting with fire and frost magic, swords and daggers. Some deaths, and main characters suffer injuries. A trial with a lava pit and scorpions that sting and cause pain and weakness. Possession by a creature that turns people violent and merciless. Two people are possessed, carried away, and possibly dead. Talk of murders in villages, and the mass execution of Frostbloods and Firebloods after such possession.

Sex

Some passionate kisses. Some innuendo about a male character bent on enjoying many partners.

Language

A few utterances of "damn" and one "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking of wine by older teen characters at parties and dinners. One character stops another from drinking too much. Sailors drink in a pub.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fireblood is the second fantasy book in the Frostblood Saga, in which a constant race war rages between those who can wield ice -- Frostbloods -- and those who can wield fire -- Firebloods. There's no arena fighting like in the first book, Frostblood, but there's still much fighting with frost and fire magic here -- some swords and daggers, too. Expect some deaths, but only injuries suffered by main characters. There's a trial with a lava pit and scorpions that sting and cause pain and weakness. Also, people turn violent and merciless when possessed by a creature unleashed by a vengeful god. Two people are possessed, carried away, and possibly dead. There's talk of murders in villages, and the mass execution of Frostbloods and Firebloods after such possession. Consistent with the start of the Frostblood Saga, Fireblood focuses on overcoming darkness, evil, and corrupt power and finding lightness and good.

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What's the story?

In FIREBLOOD, Ruby is not getting on so well in the Frostblood court, despite being a clear favorite of the Frostblood king, Arcus. Older members of the court shun her, calling her "Firefilth" behind her back. It doesn't matter to them that she saved them all from the Minax, a creature that possessed the last Frostblood king and his throne, turning him into a bloodthirsty tyrant. Even with this opposition, Arcus continues to work for peace, calling on dignitaries from around the kingdoms to sign an accord at the Frostblood castle. All goes horribly wrong at a ball in the dignitaries' honor, when masked Frostbloods attack and injure Arcus. In the melee, Ruby gets separated from Arcus and meets a Fireblood prince in disguise, a handsome rogue named Kai. Kai offers to take Ruby to the forbidden Fireblood kingdom across the sea to meet the queen. Ruby knows this is her only hope of stopping more bloodshed, frost and fire alike. The Minax she removed from the Frostblood court is loose, and another of the warmongering creatures is said to live in the Fireblood throne, potentially corrupting the Fireblood queen. It's up to her to find a way to kill them both.

Is it any good?

While the character reflection could use some tightening at times, overall this is an engrossing sequel with a strong, ahem, fiery female hero and intriguing plot twists. As more and more is heaped on Ruby, the hero -- trials with lava, sacrifices, surprise new identities, and yet more surprise new identities -- she's got much to grapple with and sort out. Ruby's reflection adds to the depth and intrigue of the story at times, and at others it loses focus, or finds three focuses too many.

Fireblood does pick back up quickly enough, however, with some surprising twists in all the right places. And much about the mythology of the story becomes clearer, making this saga feel more saga-like when you throw vengeful gods and their minions into the mix. And there's a war to stop, and generations of Frostblood-Fireblood animosity to face. Altogether, a pretty stellar setup for the finale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ruby's difficult decisions in Fireblood. What do they reveal about her character? Why does she leave Arcus? What does she think about pledging herself to the Fireblood queen? What does she do when tempted by possession?

  • Which would you like to have: the ability to wield fire or frost? Why?

  • What do you think will happen in the next installment of the Frostblood Saga? Will you read on?

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