When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?
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Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.
Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.
She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.
Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.
You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: www.firelines.co.uk. Some lucky subscribers may win books and swag. There’s also a map of the world on the website for Bookish map people to enjoy.
What I Thought
I really enjoyed this story. I found the main group of characters easy to connect to and the world created immensely interesting. I’m very glad to hear this is the first in a trilogy so that we get more chance to explore.
That being said I was really interested in the location where the book started and would have liked to have spent a little more time with Émi there. I think because it reminded me a little of the world in Divergent, trapped in a walled city with outside civilisation destroyed. Looks like we get to go back in book two but things will have changed. I just wanted more detail about daily life. For example I’d have liked some more detail on the magick systems in the world. In the initial city magick has been banned but I’d love to know more about what it looked like before the ban.
I felt the middle portion of the book did lack a little dramatic action and then the end of the book ramped that up and perhaps felt a little rushed, and hello Cliffhanger. Luckily I was already invested enough to want more, and I had realised there wasn’t enough book for all my questions to be answered.
There is a love triangle in play here (personally I don’t mind them especially when they aren’t the main focus of the story – like in this case) and I was firmly on one team but will be watching carefully to see how this follows through.
I have a concept that some things that have been introduced aren’t quite what they seem and I’m intrigued to know if I’m right.
There were a couple of scenes that I adored and so want to see filmed because my visual imagining is never good enough.
The first are the scenes with the elephants and the bonding rituals between elephants and riders. I got full on Dumbo feels at one point as well.
The second was the Watcher Fledging Ceremony. The winged display was so enchantingly described. This would make a great animation piece for a fan artist to work on – anyone???
Finally I’d like to share a quote that I think speaks very much to what is going on in our current political climate and should be read as a bit of a warning to us all.
Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops highlighted on the banner below.
Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.
But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.
No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …
An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.
Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.
Instagram: www .instagram.com/ruth_lauren
What I Thought
This was such a thrilling read with high stakes (both personal and societal) from the outset, and as a consequence had me zipping through to find out what happens.
Prisoner of Ice and Snow was like a cross between Prison Break, Six of Crows, Nevernight, and the first Throne of Glass, with a strong central sisterly relationship (a la Frozen), but perhaps aimed at a slightly younger audience.
Valor is such an awesome character. The book is told from her first person perspective. She’s a 13 year old willing to risk her own freedom for her twin but good enough to not walk over other people. I will admit to being a little ahead of her at times but I believe that was purposeful and for me doesn’t usually detract from enjoyment of a story.
I really liked that although the main action was the attempted escape from the prison Tyur’ma that there was intrigue outside of this. If Valor’s sister Sasha is innocent of the crime she was said to commit who did it and why?
The wider cast of characters were all interesting in their own right and I’m glad to hear a sequel is coming so hopefully we get to know even more about them and the world in which they live.
Prisoner of Ice and Snow is out tomorrow so you can read it really soon. Do make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour too. Thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for my copy of the book for the purpose of this honest review.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Iron Fist – the first in Andy Briggs’ The Inventory series, about a top secret vault that contains banned gadgets that are too dangerous to be in the world. You can see my interview with author Andy Briggs here.
Book two of the series Gravity is already here and having enjoyed the first book I was eager to read more about Dev and his friend Lot and Mason’s adventures.
Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events.
What I Thought?
After the big reveal at the end of the first book Andy Briggs catapults Dev and his friends straight into the action with the aim of retrieving the missing tech stolen from the vault. It’s really not long before the three teens are out on their own facing evil foes half way across the world. I enjoyed that this fact was poked fun out of in the book, although it definitely made the adult characters, particularly Charles Parker, less sympathetic.
Dev reminded me of Book 5 Harry in this story and he certainly has some big issues to deal with, which makes him the main focus of this story. The parallel between him and some of the other characters is explored well.
There is more fun technology and science to explore and the plot is certainly action packed. For me, I would have liked a few more quieter moments and perhaps a bit more exploration of Lot and Mason’s characters, although they both get their own kick-ass moments.
This is a really fun series that I’m looking forward to keeping up with and continue to recommend. It is very visual and I’d love to see it as a TV series and/or Graphic Novel.
My stop is the last on the blog tour but you can check out the other stops for more reviews and features.
Thanks to Scholastic for the free copy – all opinions are my own.