Title: A Breath of Frost
Author: Alyxandra HarveyISBN: 080273443X
Book Genre: Paranormal/ Fantasy
Release Date: January 7th 2014
Publisher: Walker Children's Books
Book Source: NetGalley
In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.
But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.
Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.
And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders...because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away ...or even worse, another witch is killed?
Early 1800's in England is my favorite time period, and don't ask me why as I have no valid reason as to why I am quite into that time period, or why I'm fascinated by everything surrounding it, I just am. So the idea of a story that is not only based on the perfect time period, but with a paranormal and fantasy element? Yeah, I was definitely in.To be honest I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it had this very creepy, but eerily fascinating prologue that made me assume I was going to absolutely love the book - no doubt about it. On the other hand, when the story itself started, there was a strange but obvious change to the way the story was told, and suddenly lost most of its charm. I get that the combination of a paranormal and a historical regency theme wasn't exactly the easiest of feats, but unfortunately I feel like Alyxandra didn't have an easy time merging them. The writing didn't give me the 1800s feeling I usually got whilst reading historical regency books - which I've read a lot of. The language did bother me, I didn't find it as authentic as I would have liked. I know that the Lovegrove cousins are supposed to be wild and don't conform to the normal society dictates, but they were raised as aristocrats, daughters of earls and grand daughters of dukes, they must at least have some sense of decorum, the use of foul language wouldn't be as common as it was in this book. They'd use it occasionally whenever frustrated, but here, it seemed to happen every two paragraphs. On the other hand, the world building was phenomenal. The setting, and the descriptions were so precise and intricately well done, I could just imagine the area and everything happening around it, almost smell what they smell, see what they see, and feel what they feel. The writing in itself was brilliant in that aspect, what I had had problems with was the dialogue for the most part.
Not to mention, I felt like there were too many characters, it was overwhelming at first, and hard to focus on especially since they mostly got their own point of views. However, it's not something that effects the story badly, in fact, you get used to it, and I also got the feeling that this was in preparation of other things happening in the next installments, Penelope and Gretchen are probably going to get bigger roles as the story leads on. The thing is, I'm disappointed their background stories at least weren't explored more, they were all two-dimensional, aside from Emma herself and her parents. I want to know more about Gretchen, more about Penelope, more about Moira, more about Cormac and his five sisters and Virgil and the sudden disappearance of Tobias. You get tiny snippets which don't tell you much, just frustrate you for not knowing more. Something else that bugged me, was how no one seemed to care that she suddenly was boarding at the school, and that no one found it strange, no one gave a fight - including her aunt. I just think that there could have been a better way to get her there.
Initially, I got so many Gemma Doyle flashbacks and not in a good way. Sure, the theme of both this book as well as the Gemma Doyle trilogy was pretty inspired as well as the plot, but the main female leads - namely Gemma and Emma (rhyming was not intended I assure you) - had a similar childish streak. However, there's definitely a remarkable growth in her character throughout the book, which was thankfully obvious and relieving. Strangely enough, not only did Emma's character improve, but the entire story picked up in the most extraordinary way. Emma's story had such an incredible and mysterious background, with things I did not see coming. The main points of it weren't predictable at all.