Review: Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: May 7th 2015 Published By: TOR UK/St Martins Griffin Pages: 200 Goodreads: Add it to your reading list Purchase: Click here to purchase Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: The second novel in the Kanin trilogy, from the international bestseller Amanda Hocking. In this series, we return to the world of Hocking’s million-copy bestselling Trylle trilogy… Bryn Aven is still struggling with her burgeoning relationship with Ridley. She’s also set on completing her mission to find the missing Skojare Queen. But when they do finally discover what happened, Bryn finds out that things are much more complicated than she’d originally thought. And as she gets closer to the truth, Bryn is framed for the murder of the Kanin King himself. She ends up on the run, as home holds too few answers and no solutions.

Review: This review contains spoilers for Frostfire. Review for Frostfire can be found here.

Ice Kissed jumps straight back into the world of trolls, magic, alliances, political agendas, intrigue, secrets and betrayal where Frostfire leaves us. Although Bryn’s skills, loyalty and determination cannot be questioned, since the events in Frostfire that saw her let two of the kingdoms most wanted criminals slip through her fingers, she is plagued by a sense a failure. Along with still struggling with being an outcast of the Kanin tribe and her reslove to prove herself truly Kanin, this sense of failure only drives Bryn harder and enhances her sheer determination to get to the bottom of the kingdoms mysteries and to ensure the kingdoms true villains are brought to justice.

To redeem herself, Bryn accepts a mission to takes her to the Skojare palace, to help uncover the truth about the disappearance of their Queen. It is here that Bryn learns a lot about herself, her heritage, her enemies and the secrets that are hidden everywhere she turns.

And this is also where we experience Storvatten, the icy kingdom that is just as cold on the inside as it is on the outside. There is something both beautiful and creepy about the world-building in Storvatten, it was superbly written. We also get to meet some interesting new characters and get to understand the Skojare a little better. I found that not only was this a eerily beautiful setting, but I found this a great link to Bryn’s heritage, and some hidden desires she didn’t really know she had.

Throughout Ice Kissed, Bryn must uncover secrets, discover wrong-doings and expose injustices - but not only that, she has to expand her own way of thinking. And generally this causes a lot of inner turmoil. She soon realises that she may not know everything, including what she really wants. What Byrn has always wanted was to be a part of the elite Kings guard, Högdragen, and to protect the Kanin tribe and be fair and just. But, as secrets are unveiled, you have to wonder if all of these things align.

And Bryn has always denied herself feelings… especially the ones she has towards Ridley. But as the story develops, so does this budding, forbidden relationship. Bryn and Ridley’s relationship goes on a rollercoaster ride during Ice Kissed, and wow, what a ride it was! There were ups and downs, denial and declarations, confusion and admission, and not only did this cause tension throughout the book, but also steamy scenes! Now these scenes aren’t overly graphic, but they are for the more “mature” YA reader.

Although filled with the quality writing and world-building I expect from Amanda Hocking, I didn’t think Ice Kissed was quite as strong as Frostfire. Maybe this is because Bryn fell in to the trap of keeping secrets - and although this is something that happens often within stories, it frustrates me because it never ends well. But there is certainly enough to keep you entertained and wanting to discover where the story is heading. Things really pick up towards the end of the book, which has its fair share of action and heartbreak. You get a few answers along this journey, but you do end up with more questions by the end of the book. And this includes the elusive Konstantin Black - there is still no answer on if this mysterious and contradictory character is villain or victim. I have come up with my own conclusion on his story, but I am yet to see if any of it is correct.

Ice Kissed, much like its predecessor, ends on a real turning point. Bryn has been through a lot, and she is at a cross roads… but adding to this, something happens right at this moment which could steer her in any number of directions. For some reason I thought the Kanin Chronicles was a duology, so ¾ of the way through this book I couldn’t understand how it could be wrapped up… and of course, the reason for this was there is still another book to come! I really want to read Crystal Kingdom to see what happens with the trolls and kingdoms that I have grown to love and hate. Thankfully Amanda Hocking doesn’t make us wait a year (or more) between instalments, so I hope to find all the answers in the finale which is due in August (and it seems that there will be more Trylle in Crystal Kingdom, which I am sure I will love!).

Byn’s world has been turned on it is head. She has no idea who or what she can trust. She must decide if she should follow her head or her heart - to follow her broken dreams or her forming ideals. With all the games, deceit, secrets, agendas and enemies to be exposed, which way will this determined, headstrong, loyal, outcast turn? Will her dreams or her heart be broken?

What do you think?

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