Hello book friends! I am super excited to be one of today’s tour stops for Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell, which is being hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers taking part in the tour here.
Beasts of the Frozen Sun
Author: Jill Criswell
Publication Date: 06 August 2019
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Burn brightly. Love fiercely. For all else is dust.
Every child of Glasnith learns the last words of Aillira, the god-gifted mortal whose doomed love affair sparked a war of gods and men, and Lira of clan Stone knows the story better than most. As a descendant of Aillira and god-gifted in her own right, she has the power to read people’s souls, to see someone’s true essence with only a touch of her hand.
When a golden-haired warrior washes up on the shores of her homeland–one of the fearful marauders from the land of the Frozen Sun–Lira helps the wounded man instead of turning him in. After reading his soul, she realizes Reyker is different than his brethren who attack the coasts of Glasnith. He confides in her that he’s been cursed with what his people call battle-madness, forced to fight for the warlord known as the Dragon, a powerful tyrant determined to reignite the ancient war that Aillira started.
As Lira and Reyker form a bond forbidden by both their clans, the wrath of the Dragon falls upon them and all of Glasnith, and Lira finds herself facing the same tragic fate as her ancestor. The battle for Lira’s life, for Reyker’s soul, and for their peoples’ freedom has only just begun.
Ever since reading Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, I have been looking for more YA fantasy that features ancient mythology. Beasts of the Frozen Sun is inspired by both Celtic and Viking mythology, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this one!
Lira lives in Glasnith (a community comprised of several clans) and is the granddaughter of the Chieftain to the Stone clan. As with tradition, once the chieftain dies, the honor must pass on to another male with her family. This leaves Lira with two choices: 1) marry a man of her father’s choosing or 2) pledge herself to Aillira’s temple, a sanctuary for god-gifted women. Lira is god-gifted, but her abilities are unlike the typical gifts that are bestowed upon the women in her society. She can read souls. She can look into a person’s soul and tell you if they are lying. Her gift is exploited by her father who uses her to dictate whether an accused man is innocent or guilty.
Reyker barely has any redeeming qualities left. The prologue opens with the savage raids that he committed along the coast of Lira’s homeland. When he washes ashore, barely alive, Lira recognizes him as the boy who helped her escape the Dragon a lifetime ago. Since she owes him a life debt, she hides him away to nurse him back to health. She can’t trust him since he is one of the beasts of frozen sun…a member of the clan enemy to her own.
This story is violent. There’s bloodshed, abuse, attempted rape…everything that you would except in a mythological story of this time period. The author does a fantastic job of immersing you into this epic battle without holding back any of the gory details. I loved watching Lira and Reyker slowly peel away their layers of distrust. This is by no means a love at first sight type of pairing. They must learn to trust and respect each other if they are going to survive together.
Overall, this is a fantastic start to this new trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for my eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Get your copy of Beasts of the Frozen Sun here:
Jill Criswell is a writer of Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She was born and raised in the swamps of northeastern Florida. She earned degrees in English and Psychology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida. Her greatest passion, besides reading and writing, is traveling the world; she’s visited fifty countries across six continents, falling in love with places like Iceland, Namibia, and Cambodia. She works as a university English teacher and lives in South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with her husband and daughter (who is named after a volcano in Iceland).