Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Kanin Chronicles #1 and #2 Review

I am about to start reading Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking. In preparation for the final book in the series, let's take a trip down memory lane through the first two books in the series and see what I thought about them.

I'm going to start off by saying that I love Amanda Hocking. I fell in love with her Trylle series and when The Kanin Chronicles hit shelves, I was quick to buy and read them. The author's personal story is one of my favorites, so if you don't know what it is, I suggest you read the interviews with her and her self-publishing turned traditional publishing success. It's truly inspiring for any aspiring authors.


Frostfire is the first installment in The Kanin Chronicles. We are introduced to a nineteen-year-old Kanin (type of troll in the Trylle universe Hocking established in her previous trilogy) that happens to be a troll. Now, Bryn Aven is not your average Kanin. While she has troll blood, she also possess the blood of the Skojare. The genes from her mother's bloodline has her blonde hair and blue eyes sticking out in the Kanin kingdom, making it very hard for her to fit in. 

Bryn has a job as a tracker - she goes out and acquires the switched children and brings them back to their real homes with the Kanin - but she dreams of being one of the elite guards that guard the king. When a ghost from her past shows up, Bryn is given the opportunity to prove herself worthy. You see, years ago, Konstantine Black tried to kill her father, who is an important figure-head in the Kanin kingdom. Black attacks once again and Bryn is on the mission of her life to take him down. Once and for all.

Of course, none of this can ever be easy. Aside from Bryn's determination and the level of difficulty of her tasks, Bryn is growing fonder and fonder of her boss Ridley Dresden.

This first book introduces readers to a group of rather unique set of characters that one can immediately connect with. Bryn has spunk and is so enjoyable to read about. She's incredibly headstrong and it's refreshing to see YA female leads focusing so hard on their mission and their own lives instead of the romance, although there is plenty of that, too. I'm a huge fan of romance, but not cheesy romance. The fact that Bryn is willing to put her feelings for a boy second, is already showing just how awesome she is.

Besides romance, the second thing that sells books is action. People love reading about people falling in love and people kicking people's butts. Frostfire does not disappoint in either of the two areas. There is just the right amount of action that doesn't make you feel like you're in a war novel, but is plenty to satisfy.

The world in general that Hocking has created in this new series is brilliant. It is familiar enough thanks to the Trylle series, but different enough that you still get those first-time feelings readers get when they enter a brand new world. The Kanin are much different than the Trylle, but also similar enough that readers who read both series can see where they do have similar traits. If you haven't read  the Trylle series, yet, you are not going to be lost while reading this one. In fact, it'll make you want to read the other one even more!

This first novel leaves readers anxious for the sequel!

Following where the first left off, Ice Kissed immediately drags readers into the story. Everything Bryn Avery has thought she knew is turned upside down. Bryn had Konstantine Black within her grasp and he got away, and the more she pursues hunting him down, she finds that maybe everything she thought she knew isn't what it seems.

Bryn is half Kanin and half Skojare. It has always set her apart from the Kanin where she lives, but when the Skojare become threatened with a common enemy to the Kanin, Bryn's King thinks it best to send Bryn out to help them. The Skojare princess has gone missing and Bryn is sent to help find her, only the journey to finding the princess, leads Bryn to more questions than answers. And the readers are on the same page as her.

When Bryn finds the princess, after supposedly being separated from that particular mission, she starts to wonder what side of the war brewing she is standing on and which side she wants/needs to be on.

For the reader, it's nice to see Bryn's other life that she  could have lived with the Skojare. Hocking infuses a lot of mystery and danger in Bryn's journey as she wanders into strange waters (pun-intended). Of course, this complicates the storyline a lot. Bryn's budding romance with Ridley is strained and her hatred for Konstantine Black wavers. You start to wonder what is going on, and that is just what Hocking wants.

At the end of this book, readers are left with answers to some previous questions, but even more new questions. I honestly can't wait until the final book in the series Crystal Kingdom

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