Book Stop – ARC Review – Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

HYPE HYPE HYPE ya’ll. This is the first work of 19 year old author Coco Ma. She wrote this when she was only 15 and I just can’t even express how talented this author is. I went in expecting something good but a little on the superficial side and this author took my expectations and smacked me in the face with them. Touche Coco Ma.. Touche.

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Publish Date: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Series: TBD

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4-4.5 Incredibly astonished, jaw dropping stars. This author has a great future ahead of her if this is just a glimpse of what she is capable of at the age of 15. I am definitely a fan. Shadow Frost combines a whimsical writing style, enchanting and complex magical system, depth full characters, and a unique world into a captivating reinvention of the tale of Snow White. The author manages to weave in intrigue, betrayals and plot twists in such a way to keep the readers on their toes and glued to the pages. I think that the author has a calling for the YA fantasy genre. Especially in her ability to convey maturity in her characters and chemistry between them but still keep things suited to her audience. I thought the characters had great range and depth, and for having so many that, in itself, was remarkable.

Enter the world of Axaria, a land created by the council of Immortals– the nine gods and goddesses of the Immortal Realm. Princess Asterin, our sassy, strong, and fiercely determined FMC, has just discovered she is omnifinitied, one who is rare and gifted in all the nine elements of magic in her world. A darkness has risen up in Asterin’s kingdom, and it is up to Asterin, and her most trusted and talented friends to push it back to where it came from. Asterin in a desperate attempt to live up to her soon to be ruler status as well as her mother’s expectations. Asterin and her companions set off on their journey. But not everyone Asterin meets is friend and in their search for the demon plaguing the land, they discover the treachery is much closer to home and the truth shall be revealed and must be accepted even if no forgiveness can be found.

The story itself is very original, so much so that I only started to recognize aspects to tie it to the fairy tale Snow White at about 40% in. I love that. It made me as the reader think I had uncovered some great hidden mystery! The magical system created for Axaria was really great but more information would have been awesome. It was complex in that it was not just built on the elements but on spells also. We didn’t really get a very good breakdown of what this magic is capable of yet which leaves room for growth in a sequel but at the same time didn’t give us much to go on in the the fights.. Why are things hard? Why do certain things work and others don’t? What makes one magic bad and one good? Where is the line?

I think this supernatural world was built quite well, but the reader could have really benefited from more backstory and details here and there. For example I personally would have loved more info about the Immortals, it seems there is something going on in the Immortal realm that we have just barely grazed upon here in this book. Like things are happening over there. Having Queen Priscilla’s story, as well as the stories of others just barely hinted at around the magical world would have also answered a lot of questions for me. I identified several areas where it looked like other fairy tale reinventions could be starting, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast to just name a couple. What I would really like to know is if I’m reading to much into the story or if the author definitely is going to pursue these avenues. Though I haven’t seen any evidence so far stating matter of factly that this is book one in the series, this cannot be the end. I ended this story wondering if I had discovered some missed plot holes, or if I had discovered multiple unfinished avenues the author plans to pursue later. These unanswered questions are the reason for my quad stars. I feel like a lot of the questions I have were left with the reader on purpose so as to answer them in a later work. Not knowing for sure is just about killing me lol.

It is just phenomenal really that this is the author’s first work, and that the author was only 15 at the time it was written. Definitely something I would recommend for YA fantasy readers, or lovers of fairy tale retellings. This author is one to watch out for!

I requested and received an AR copy of this via NetGalley and the Publisher Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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