All hail the Fire Queen.
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past…
Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fire Queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax—which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, Ruby no longer knows whom to trust. The fates of two kingdoms are now in her hands.
Note: This is the sequel to Frostblood, which you can find my review for here. It will contain slight spoilers!
While Fireblood was an exhilarating book – full of action and never a boring time in the plot – the excessive amount of familiar tropes that this series uses keeps me from lauding it as amazing, or a book to recommend for everyone. Like I said in my review of the first book, Frostblood, it’s more like a comfy blanket you would put on in front of the fireplace during a cold, snowy day when you’re in the mood to reread some of your old fave books. Blake is a great writer and certainly knows how to keep readers in suspense – plotwise though, you’re looking at nothing new from the YA fantasy books that have been out since the 2010’s. Comfortable while reading, but otherwise lacking in the newfound enjoyment that most fantasy books try to create and offer.
Fireblood starts off right when the previous book left off, with Arcus as king and Ruby as the Fireblood that helped him defeat the evil Frost King from the previous book. However, the nobles – who are all Frostbloods – don’t really accept her and she finds herself limiting Arcus as he tries to navigate around being a king. Thus, when given the chance to go to Sudesia, the nation of Firebloods, she finds herself drawn towards what they have to offer. She wants to see if they have the secret to destroying the Minx that is trapped in her, figure out how to work her Fireblood powers, and meet the Fireblood queen that she has heard so much about.
“‘What is the point of living if you can’t let yourself feel anything?’”
Following the series’ penchant to repeat what happens in familiar fantasy books, Arcus and Ruby are not together for the majority of this sequel. With only a first person narrative from Ruby, we don’t get his POV at all and the story occurs mainly in Sudesia, a land of islands. There is a love triangle involved, which I know made many readers and I very weary, but I can’t say I didn’t expect it. Ruby meets an intriguing Fireblood named Kai who is full of secrets and, as the blurb says, “sparks fly.” It was annoying to see this happening but Blake does write this pretty well – Kai represents a new life with the Firebloods while choosing Arcus is following the tangled path that leads to peace between the nations. Ruby is definitely quite confused in this book regarding romantic relationships, but it did allow for good character development on her part.
It’s mainly a good thing that Ruby is a well-written character that’s empathetic and not hard to like, because the series revolves around her: her actions, her special destiny, her past, and her relationships. While I found I wanted more substance with the side characters, Ruby’s adventure is fun enough to keep readers engaged. At Sudesia, she strives to become a “master” – of her Fireblood abilities – while trying to find out how to destroy the Minx, or being a shadow, in her. The legends and folklore Blake adds about the origins of the world and the Minx is interesting as well, and more revelations come in this book. Like I said, these twists are more like, “Wow, I knew this would happen,” rather than, “Whoa what just happened and how?!” Interesting enough to keep the pages turning, but nothing too special.
Fireblood is a mainly Ruby-driven book, and uncovering more about her character and past. Readers don’t get a lot of time with Arcus and instead is introduced to the new land of Sudesia where she struggles to find her heritage. The romance is severely lacking as she’s confused between two different guys (one of which I care nothing about) while the action keeps the plot going. The book is fun, but to recommend the series to other readers I’d say this: come in expecting and wanting tropes, because that’s ultimately what you get.