Kingdom of Ice and Bone – Jill Criswell – ARC Review

Title: Kingdom of Ice and Bone
Series: Frozen Sun Saga #2
Author: Jill Criswell
Genre: YA, Fantasy
: September 22nd, 2020 (Blackstone Publishing)

: Lira and Reyker have lost everything. Including each other.

Lira of Stone watched her home burn and her clan fall beneath the sword of the warlord known as the Dragon. She believes the man she loves, a warrior who defected from the Dragon s army, is dead. Alongside her exiled brother and his band of refugees, she will fight the forces that conquered her island. But the greatest danger may come from Lira herself with the blood of banished gods running through her veins, she s become a weapon, and no one is safe from the power of her wrath.

Reyker Lagorsson thought he was done being a Dragonman. That was before he saw Lira leap from a cliff and vanish into the sea. Determined to honor her memory by protecting her people, Reyker must feign loyalty to the warlord, undermine him at every turn, and seek alliances with renegade soldiers without succumbing to the battle-madness that threatens to possess him once more.

When the Fallen Ones offer Lira a chance to defeat the Dragon, her quest leads her to a place she never expected Iseneld, the warlord s homeland. Her journey into the heart of the Frozen Sun will put her on a collision course with Reyker, costing both of them more than they ever imagined, and leaving her with a terrible choice: to save their countries, she must forsake everything she loves.

Thank you to the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Lira and Reyker are separated, each believing the other to be dead. But they are determined to complete their missions: to defeat Draki and save their homelands. Reyker could not save Lira, but he is determined to honour her memory by protecting her people by doing the one thing he never thought he’d do – return to being a Dragonman. Lira on the other hand, takes a different path. Imbued with the power of the Fallen Gods, she accepts the chance they offer her to take down Draki and sets off on a journey that takes her to Iseneld. Though they don’t know it, Lira and Reyker’s paths are destined to cross once more, but the cost of defeating Draki will be higher than either of them have imagined.

I really like that the mythology of this world continues to play such a large part in this story because honestly, that was the more interesting part for me. Much of this book takes place in Reyker’s homeland, Iseneld and it was nice to get a glimpse into the country, its people and their ways. There weren’t as many action scenes in this book and much of it was centred around the magic of the Fallen Gods, their goals to free themselves from their imprisonment. Lira’s experiences combined with the magic from the Fallen Gods has changed her a lot, and this is evident in her character growth which was very well done. Reyker on the other hand, while as central to the plot, just felt pushed to the background in contrast, because all the interesting stuff was happening in Lira’s arc.

While the pacing and presentation is much better than the first book, it would have been nice to see more of Lira and Reyker than the number of near misses they kept having, not knowing that the other is so close, or indeed, even alive. I actually missed their scenes, considering how interesting their dynamic has been so far. Considering the number of dreams Lira keeps having though, I thought she should have figured it out much earlier. Draki’s backstory was an unexpected addition, but it makes him a very interesting villain, now that we know his motivations. A villain with depth is a pretty rare thing and makes the story that much better.

The ending kind of ruined things for me though. Memory loss is a trope I’m not too fond of. As I said with the ending of the first book, hopefully this is resolved quickly in the story going forward, as I find it to be rather frustrating, but I can’t really complain about a cliffhanger. I think the author did a good job of avoiding the second book syndrome and kept the story interesting. This was a definite improvement on book one and I’m looking forward to reading the finale in this series.

Kingdom of Ice and Bone releases on September 22nd, 2020.

Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:

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