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{ARC} Beasts of The Frozen Sun | An Impressive Celtic-Inspired Debut

Thank you so much to Blackstone Publishing for kindly providing me with an ARC of Beasts of The Frozen Sun.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

✨ Beasts of the Frozen Sun is out August 6th! ✨

Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell

Title: Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga #1)
Author: Jill Criswell
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Publication Date: 6 August 2019
Length: 368 pages

Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.

Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.

When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland, it doesn’t take long before the wrath of the Dragon unleashes upon them…

 
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Previous Installments

This is the first and so far only published book in the Frozen Sun Saga trilogy.

Sweet Bits

Beasts of The Frozen Sun starts really strong with Reyker’s POV. We don’t know him yet but the first glimpse we have of him is not a very pretty one. However, we are immediately given vital pieces of information about his character and, dare I say, reasons to love him.

We then follow into Lira’s POV, who is also given a pivotal scene right at the beginning. Again, I instantly felt like I knew her and her very essence. Her powers are a constant source of conflict between her own morals and those around her, which brews a big dilemma throughout the story and serves as catalyst to many situations.

☀️ “He is everything you fear, and worse. He is also everything you hope, and more.” ☀️

I absolutely loved Lira’s personality and how deeply bounded she was by the love for her family and the duty to her clan. There were so many sides to her and I had a wonderful time trying to pinpoint them all. She was just so human.

I also felt like I could relate to her while inside her head. Not like I was an intruder, but like I was truly a part of her character.

I especially adored her relationship with her brothers, one that felt so genuine and heart-warming and that anyone close to their siblings will probably relate to instantly. Her friendship with her best friend was so very adorable as well – they treated each other like sisters in every way, and I just wished there had been more time dedicated to it.

❄️ “Never is not so long as you think, and nothing is worth far more than you’ll admit.” ❄️

The world-building couldn’t have been more exciting! Beasts of The Frozen Sun is heavily inspired by Celtic and Viking mythology and I encountered so many wonderful details and references highlighting just that.

It also didn’t feel like the plot had been built as a foundation for a love story, or worse: that the author had not taken the time to plan and research thoroughly before presenting the reader with her ideas. It could certainly have been developed more, but I believe that to have been intentional, so as to reserve some surprises for the following instalments.

☀️ “Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.” ☀️

Beasts of The Frozen Sun
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Still, there was so much happening at once! All these converging plot lines worked so wonderfully together and I was so intensely engrossed in this book… All the loose ends were masterfully tied in a very organic fashion, too.

About 70% of chapters were fairly brutal, super fast-paced, engaging and well-constructed. I sometimes have trouble following fighting scenes in books due to poor writing, but I had no issues here.

Honestly, Beasts of The Frozen Sun read like the work of a way more experienced author, which is very impressive.

❄️ “You cling to me out of fondness and loyalty, but all the while, you’ve been waiting for someone whose secrets and dreams you don’t know as well as your own.” ❄️

The romance was very slowburn, and surprisingly homely despite the circumstances. The fact that it was enemies to lovers / forbidden also made for a really nice addition. But mostly, they were just so adorable and peaceful together it made my heart ache.

And speaking of aching heart – Crisswell really pulled no punches torturing her characters. Both Lira, Reyker and the rest of them (even their pets!) go through so much pain, both physical and mental, so much suffering, so much unbearable abuse and threats, it was very hard for me to read about it. But ultimately, I think it strengthened the story and my caring for their well-being.

Bitter Bits

☀️ “I am a beast to them. You are the only one who lets me be a man.” ☀️

I feel like I didn’t get to know Reyker as deeply as Lira. There was a lot of light shed into his backstory and I appreciated that immensely, but it seemed to have come a bit too late for me to really bond with him.

❄️ “The blade hovered between us. I could kill him. He could kill me. That’s how it was meant to be—there could be nothing else between us now.” ❄️

While I loved the romance throughout, I did find my interest fizzling out a bit by the end. After waiting for so long, I was left a bit underwhelmed and then the sudden shift almost felt like it washed away everything that had built up until that point.

Overall

When I started this book I couldn’t stop reading! There was always something going on, tons of action, plot twists, suspense, characters either being killed or under threat or running from something (or towards something)… I could hardly catch my breath.

The world-building was amazing, solid, and gradually unfolded before my eyes. The Celtic and Viking-inspired mythology was also brilliantly incorporated without sounding cliché, enriching the story even more.

The characters were another great part of this book: genuine and human and relatable. Even the villains were able to inspire fear within me and really feel for everyone’s safety.

If you adore family (and particularly siblings) dynamics, you’ll love Lira and the rest of the Stones, as well as her sisterly devotion to her childhood best friend. I wished we’d been able to spend more time with them, but there was a lot of pressing matters to attend to!

The romance was lovely but while it tortured me for the longest time and made me crave for it non-stop, it didn’t actually culminate in the most satisfying way, which was a bit disappointing. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t find them incredibly swoony and want to find out what happens in book two!

Overall, I absolutely recommend this! It reminded me of my favourite Juliet Marillier novels which, if you haven’t read yet, are totally missing out…

4.5 Stars

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Beasts of the Frozen Sun Jill Criswell Pinterest
📖  Which slowburn romance ended up fizzling out by the end for you?
📖  What is your favourite mythology to read about?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
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35 thoughts on “{ARC} Beasts of The Frozen Sun | An Impressive Celtic-Inspired Debut

  1. Ooooh! I am trying to think if I have ever read a Celtic inspired story. What a fantastic sounding novel! I love it when a book grabs hold of you and you just can’t put it down. I will have to keep an eye out for this one. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have read a few that I really enjoyed! Juliet Marillier is one author I absolutely recommend 🙂
      Beyond a Darkened Shore is one I have on my TBR as well, and anything from Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana Gabaldon. They’re quite well-known but I have yet to try them.
      I hope you get to pick up some of these books soon! I think Beasts of the Frozen Sun is a great place to start ❤

      Like

    1. Thank you! Oh yeah I think so too, it really brought something special to an otherwise not so original tale – it could have easily been your standard YA fantasy romance but became so much more (without spoiling the romance at all, quite the opposite!) I highly recommend 🙂

      Like

  2. Brilliant review as always, Sophie! I love that you felt like a part of her character. It makes all the difference when you understand a character and don’t feel like you’re being presented someone’s story but actually are part of it all. And then you mention the awesome use of Celtic and Viking mythology! I love hearing that, it makes me want to switch fields of study and go into something history-related hahah But I got to admit that the romance doesn’t sound too great and would probably distract me a lot hahah At least you enjoyed this a lot more than anything! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lashaan! Yeah it definitely makes all the difference – she was an absolute delight to read about and to follow in her journey.
      Hahaha I always feel like that too when I read about mythology! But then I remember that I always seem to enjoy something when they’re not part of mandatory study – I’m too big of a rebel LOL
      The romance was actually quite lovely! Until a certain point. Then it just stopped being lovely and was just “all right”. I still have hopes for the next novel so we’ll see 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is definitely the danger of the slow burn romance! You’ve got to get those elements exactly right otherwise it’s just disappointing.

    Oooh I love the whole Celtic thing though. I have never really considered the possibility of sexy Vikings.

    Like

    1. Yup, definitely! It’s the timing – it needs to be right. If you’re going to keep your reader on the edge of their seat and then not really work on the “climax” moment properly, it just won’t deliver. Their first kiss was SO meh. I was honestly so underwhelmed by it.
      Oh sexy Vikings are the best! You need to read more of those, Lydia xD

      Like

  4. Honestly I was on the fence about reading this… What decided me was the viking mythology which I’m not a fan of. I don’t hate it but its so overdone that I just wasn’t willing to wade through this… but it sounds like I may have made the wrong choice!! ❤️ I love slow burn romances where things really develop and I love relationships with siblings, especially brothers!! I’m totally a character lover and that will sway me every time. Great review Sophie!! and a lovely instagram photo!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I completely understand. The plot does revolve around and is inspired by Viking invasions in Ireland, and the main conflict between Reyker and Lira is the fact that they are from opposite sides (he’s a Viking, she’s a Celt) though this is very much an alternative world with made-up names of places, gods, etc. If you don’t know it’s about that, then you can easily miss it! It’s fantasy and so well-written, so I didn’t really mind that it could be unoriginal, personally 🙂
      I honestly think you would enjoy it if you’d give it a go! And thank you so much, Dani ❤ ❤

      Like

  5. Woooooweee… this sounds quite … hmm, you made me fele like if I read this book I’d receive like the greatest fuzzies! 😀 I don’t know why, maybe the way you describe all the various relationships and how nicely they are written. The quotes you included are pretty damn good, too! They show there’s a certain depth to the overall feel… Interesting! I hadn’t heard of the book, but I shall look into it 🙂

    Like

    1. Hahaha I think you would! I haven’t seen a lot of it around either, but the few people who’ve read it seem to have loved it so I’m quite positive in my tastes this time around xD If you like Vikings/Celts stories, mythology, slowburn romance, enemies to lovers, tons of action and a cool plot, you’ll probably like this.
      I also found it quite mature for a YA book. Some scenes were pretty brutal (like attempted rape, mutilation, gruesome battles, etc) but they made me love the book even more for its authenticity and for not being afraid to take that risk!

      Like

    1. Yes, definitely 🙂 Ah it’s so nice to meet another fan of hers! I know barely anyone who likes her books…
      I love her Sevenwaters trilogy, of course. Haven’t had the chance to explore much of her other series, but I did read the Saga of the Light Isles, which was lovely as well.
      My favourite book of hers, though, will always be Child of the Prophecy ❤ What about you?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Son of the Shadows was the first book I’ve read from her (I didn’t know it was part of a series, or the second in the series) which seems to happen a lot hahaha
          I really enjoyed it, but Child of the Prophecy spoke to me the most, especially because it was about an anti-heroine.
          I have to read Wildwood Dancing, and I’m super curious about her adult novels!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a good one, Sophie. I like action and intensity and a slow-burn romance (versus insta-love). Animals getting hurt is hard for me, but otherwise the fighting and brutality is just fine, Ha ha. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m going to pick this one up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! There’s some animal abuse but most is off-page and not too graphic, which I appreciated. I can take gore and human brutality just fine too, but if someone so much as steps on a dog’s tail I’ll be livid and crying my eyes out xD
      No worries, Diana, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reyker sounds like such an interesting character and am intrigued by Lira. The world building sounds especially exciting- I’m so intrigued by both Celtic and Viking mythology. It’s fantastic this was engrossing as well. And I always like slowburn and enemies to lovers romances! It sounds fair that your interest had fizzled by the end. But I’m glad you couldn’t stop reading. Fantastic review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is an interesting character, I’m just sad I couldn’t get to know him more and feel closer to him the way I did with Lira… Then again, there’s another book coming so I’m hoping that is rectified then 🙂
      Yes, I loved every element of this book and how they were so masterfully explored! It’s rare that you find all of them in one place, so I couldn’t be happier hahaha
      Definitely a page-turner, this one – I hope you get to read it one day! Thank you so much ❤

      Like

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