By: Melanie | February 23, 2014 | (28) Comments

Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra HarveyA Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy, #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, YA
Pages: 496
Source: Received in exchange for review
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In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and 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 seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

I haven’t read any historical fiction in a long time so this felt like a nice breath of fresh air for me. (HAH! See what I did there?) But seriously, this book was adorable. Everyone has said it already but I don’t care because it simply is. There’s no other word in the dictionary that can suffice. So if you love the adorbs, this book is totally for you. If you don’t, this book is still for you. Because I said so. But then you’ll all be like

So let me convince you.

Reasons to read A Breath of Frost:

1. The relationships in this book are the highlight. Emma, Gretchen and Penelope are a trio of tightly nit cousins, they recenrly discovered their family lineage of witchcraft after a binding spell was broken, making the cousins now in danger. I love how the three are always looking out for each other and are ready to kick butt at anyone. They were basically triplets, and knew exactly how to lighten each other’ mood. For instance:

“He called me fat.” [Penelope]
Emma hissed out a breath. “I beg your pardon.”
“It’s nothing, really.” She forced her voice not to wobble. “He embarrassed me, that’s all.”
“Think how embarrassed he’ll be when I wrap his smalls around his fat head.”
[…]
“Why does Emma look like she’s swollen a bee?” Gretchen asked when her cousins pushed their way toward her.
“Mr. Cohen called Penelope fat,” Emma replied.
Gretchen’s smile faded. “Did he, now?”
“It’s nothing.” [Penelope]
“I hope he wakes up swollen like a balloon,” Gretchen muttered.

2. There is an extremely likable lead character. We do get to touch in with quite a lot of people’s perspectives however the author mainly narrates from Emma’s point of view. People steered away from her due to her mother’s condition and she did not have much of a significance. Still, she had a bright nature and was eager for adventure, a strong protagonist in and out.

3. There’s none of that romance crap. Sure, we have a main focal romance in A Breath of Frost but there’s no love triangle, heavy angst or instant-love. There’s no irrelevant drama and nothing overly cheesy. The romance is sweet and fluffy, just like this book. While I did not like Cormac at the start–the way Emma had portrayed him made me want to slap him every time he appeared but soon we find out his real intentions and everything makes sense. Cormac had always wanted to do what was right for both of them.

4. The writing transported me back to the 18 hundreds. Man, this lady knows how to write in this time period. She describes everything elaborately–perhaps a little too elaborate at times (it’s freaking 500 pages O_O)–Alyxandra knows exactly how to use the English language effectively. Posh, sweet and descriptive, I will be going through to read more of Alyxandra’s books because of this. Let me share an example:

Extensive windows and a curved glass ceiling held in the warmth of hundreds of flowers. The marble pathway wound around pots of daffodils, lilac branches in glass vases, and blankets of lilies pressing their white petals against the windows. She tried to see the stars through the ceiling but mist clung to the glass, obscuring the view. Instead, she contented herself with wandering through the miniature jungle, listening to the faint strains of a waltz playing from the ballroom.
It wasn’t all she heard.

[and]

The sky opened overhead like a broken water jug. Rain pattered over the roof, soaked their dresses and tangled their hair like seaweed. In moments, the gardens were a maze of ruined silk, mud, and slippery stone.

Tell me your secrets, Alyxandra! How do you write so magnificently?

5. The world building. Along with the writing, it was easy to digest and was not thrown at the readers all in one heap.

So yeah, if you won’t read it for the adorbs, read it for those 5 reasons.

The reason why I didn’t give this book 5 stars then? I struggled at times in this book due the the length. 500 pages. FIVE HUNDRED OF THEM. This book could have done perfectly well with less. Much less.

I could go on quoting this book for hours but I won’t because that would just ruin the enjoyment for everyone else. I highly recommend this book for people who want a good historical fantasy.

Melanie, out.

~Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this copy!~

3.5 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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28 Responses to Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

  1. Aimee says:

    I’m mainly excited for this ’cause the romance sounds AWESOME. <3 And an easy-to-understand world? Yes please. Great review, Melanie!<3
    Aimee recently posted…Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine ApplegateMy Profile

  2. I want, I want, I want. You have convinced me. And I have been totally reading a whole bunch of historicals lately too. A YA one sounds fun. I truly love the sound of these characters.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Kindle & Nook Freebies #70My Profile

  3. Shai W says:

    Wow, the quotes you included definitely got me hooked. I haven’t heard of this author before but I love the look of this one–looking forward to the romance and relationship between the cousins! Brilliant review.

  4. Melliane says:

    it can be nice, I just love the cover so I confess I’m really curious. Your points are some great ones and I think if I see it, I’ll surely buy it. thanks darling for the review!
    Melliane recently posted…Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Patricia EimerMy Profile

  5. Candace says:

    I’ve really been wanting to read this one! I tend to enjoy her characters quite a lot, so I think I might like this one!
    Candace recently posted…My Week in Instagram: Historical Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Bookmarks and Puppy Tales!My Profile

  6. Larissa says:

    Hey Mel (: Haha I’ve been reading this one on and off for awhile now. I’m enjoying it, but like you mentioned the length is a bit crazy. Fantastic review girl <33

  7. I’m so happy you liked this, Mel. I agree that 500 pages was a bit too much, but I loved the girls together. They were so cute and supportive of each other. Apparently, the next book is told in Gretchen’s POV mainly and I can’t wait for it. Plus, it comes out this year itself, so no waiting forever for a sequel to come out.
    Lovely review, Mel!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Book Haul & Weekly Recap #49My Profile

  8. Mel this sounds so good, from the setting to the romance and the cover is lovely too!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Crave by Monica MurphyMy Profile

  9. Ahh I’ve been seeing so many positive reviews for this one and I really need to get my hand on it sometime soon! I definitely love the idea of a historical fiction that’s super cute, and I’ve been trying to expand my reading tastes. It seems like I should start with this one, especially because the writing sounds phenomenal and how the main character is super likable. Fantastic review, Mellybean! <33
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  10. Lexa Cain says:

    Sorry…I guess I don’t like “adorbs.” This book doesn’t appeal to me because it’s got the exact same premise as “Charmed” and from the quotes, it seems to have the exact same comic camaraderie too. Yes, I loved “Charmed,” but I hate fanfic. I know, this one is Regency. But the Charmed witches went back in time to Salem, etc., too. I guess the fact you felt it was too long perhaps reflects on its pacing and suspense, which must be lacking a bit. But I’m glad I read the review. You’re very funny! 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Feb Romance Kitsy Clare & CelebrateMy Profile

  11. Henrietta says:

    The writing was definitely beautiful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the way-too-many perspectives and I’ve set the book aside. Glad to see how much you enjoyed reading the story. 🙂
    Henrietta recently posted…Infinite – Jodi MeadowsMy Profile

  12. AAH, THE ADORBS! 😀

    ‘Kay, LBD squealing is over. 😉

    I haven’t actually heard much about this novel, though I’ve seen the cover around a lot. You make a strong case for this book and its relationships, Melanie, so I think I’ll be giving this one a try after all. Wonderful review!
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. MartinMy Profile

  13. What a wonderful review, you had me chuckling at times 🙂 I love the cover of this book, just love it. I have this on my to-read list but after reading your review I.Want. It. Now!
    500 pages is MASSIVE. I don’t mind a long book though as long as every one of the pages is entertaining.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Review: Nymph by Tonya Alexandra #AWW2014My Profile

  14. I’m glad you liked it too! This book really surprised me with how good it was, and I especially enjoyed the relationship between the cousins – such a refreshing take. But I agree, it was way too long and there were sections where it could have been cut from the book.
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Haul (#5)My Profile

  15. I put this aside when I received it because I’d never heard of it but I do enjoy hist. fic so I’ll definitely pick it up soon, Mel!
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambellin KwaymullinaMy Profile

  16. I really loved that quote you posted, the writing here is so amazing! I have a copy of my shelf and heard it was a great fluffy read, think I might pick it up soon. Lovely review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…ARC Review: Grim by Christine Johnson Review – Dark and twisted fairy talesMy Profile

  17. Rachel says:

    Wonderful review, Melanie! I love it when the everything hits the mark: relationships, likeable characters and great world building. I loved her vampire series as well, so I’ll have to check this out! 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  18. I saw Rashika’s review for this one and you and her pretty much pointed out the positive things in this book. I can’t wait to finally read a book where the romance is not a central point. I mean, how often do you see THAT in YA fiction?! In a historical one, even?! Needless to say, you just left me wanting this one so much Melanie. I’m considering dropping what I have to get this haha!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Review: Cress by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

  19. Ada says:

    Would it be different iif this circumstance was
    observed without attachment to finding a reasonable explanation (which is imposzsible anyway) ‘ or connecting the
    dots in order to place blame. It also give you
    “signs” on what to look out for. When you know it is ‘just a
    dream’ the events that happen feel more like watching a movie than real life.
    Ada recently posted…AdaMy Profile

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