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The Frozen Crown #1

The Frozen Crown

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"Propulsive and intricate, Greta Kelly has constructed a world of twisting politics and thrilling magic following a heroine who is both clever and uncompromising, but ultimately, has heart. A stellar read that I thoroughly enjoyed." -- Emily Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints 

A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir's gates, but to those behind the palace walls. 

And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall. 

384 pages, Hardcover

First published January 12, 2021

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About the author

Greta Kelly

5 books249 followers
Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband and daughters who are doing their level-best to take over the world.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 388 reviews
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,006 reviews2,598 followers
January 26, 2021
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/01/26/...

Mark my words, we’ve got the hidden gem of the year right here, folks, and its name is The Frozen Crown! A fantasy debut by Greta Kelly, this book was utterly absorbing and took me by surprise in the best of ways. From the first word to the very last, I was riveted by the story, the characters, all the magic and the politics, and yes, even those little fine sparks of romance.

Set in a world of rivaling empires, the rightful heir to a beleaguered realm must find a way to regain her throne and repel an invasion, but in order to succeed, she will need to raise herself a grand army. For many months now, the warrior princess Askia of Serevesh has been fighting a losing battle, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Taking along a small contingent of her most loyal guard, she travels south to Vishir in the hopes of securing aid from the emperor, who was a good friend to her late parents.

Yet for all her skills with a blade, Askia finds herself no match for the convoluted southern customs and elaborate rules of the imperial court, and while she herself may have roots in Vishir, her enemies in the capital far outnumber her friends. Fortunately, our protagonist has a secret weapon—a rare kind of magic that might possibly gain her access to the mysterious Shadow Guild whose members could help unlock her true potential. With the empire still very much divided on the subject of witches though, Askia must tread carefully despite her willingness to risk everything to save her people. If playing the petty political games of the nobility will get her what she needs, then she will gladly do so, even if it means having to sacrifice her own hopes and dreams.

Before I continue, I’ve noticed this novel being classified as Young Adult in several places even though its marketing doesn’t really support this, not to mention that Askia is also in her early 20s. That said, it’s understandable why some might categorize it that way, given a few of its shared elements with YA and the fact that it was such a breezy read. Still, the intricacies of the politics, the character motivations, the conflicts and the stakes at hand are clearly intended for more mature audiences, and at most, I would say this book straddles that ideal middle ground of giving readers the best of both worlds. Try to imagine a fantasy narrative that feels comfortable and familiar yet its finer details are often pieced together in a way that completely defies expectations, and that’s how I would describe The Frozen Crown.

In other words, while I can give you the basic gist of the story, the reality is not so simple. Askia might be a princess looking for allies in her bid to take back her crown, but as the plot thickens, one might be surprised to find the line between friend and enemy to be thinner than a knife’s edge. This was a lesson I learned early with the big plot twist that was dropped on us at the beginning, the first of many more shockers to come. Later on, Kelly deftly weaves layer upon layer of intrigue and danger into each scene as her protagonist navigates the treacherous political landscape of Vishir. Along the way, she also manages to work in a wealth of historical information and context to explain the background of her world and characters without having to resort endless exposition. Everything we needed to know—and I won’t lie, it was quite a lot—was revealed organically and in sync with plot events while still leaving plenty of room for Askia to flex her diplomatic muscles and develop her relationships with the other characters. Heck, I even appreciated the light touch of romance which was just a minor aspect of the story, but my interest was piqued nonetheless.

To tell the truth, I can find few faults with this book, which makes the fact that it is a debut even more amazing. I suppose if I had to nitpick though, perhaps the magical systems could have been better explained. We know, for instance, that there are various types of magic users categorized by the abilities they possess, and that these powers can range in terms of rarity and strength. The nature of Askia’s own magic is very specific, and I won’t spoil the details here, though I will say I’d wished for more clearly defined rules and explanations on how her powers worked. Another thing I would have liked to see was more of the world, though this was by no means a dealbreaker. Given the limitations presented by Askia’s point-of-view and the need for her to travel in certain circles to fulfill her goal, I didn’t expect the world-building to expand much beyond the narrow scope of Vishir aristocracy, though I certainly wouldn’t object if the next book showed us more either, so here’s hoping.

Of course, there are so many more reasons to look forward to the sequel, not least of all the way The Frozen Crown ended, which was a cliffhanger to be sure—though thankfully not one that leaves you with questions unanswered, just a pumped up all-consuming need to find out what happens next! As the first half of a duology, it certainly did its job of getting me hooked, delivering everything I could ever want in a character-focused fantasy. I can’t wait to get more.

Audiobook Comments: A special shoutout to narrator Imani Jade Powers who made the story and characters extra powerful. Not only did she provide a great voice for Askia, masterfully bringing forth our protagonist’s spirited personality and clever disposition, her flawless sense of timing and smooth narration kept me on the edge of my seat. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Renaissance Kate.
236 reviews123 followers
February 24, 2021
I would recommend this book for any YA Fantasy readers looking to venture into Adult Fantasy. More specifically, I would categorize The Frozen Crown as New Adult because it combines elements of both genres. It features a 21-year-old protagonist who tells her story in 1st person POV, but the content is more graphic in violence and sexual content than typical YA.

As someone who typically doesn’t care much for political intrigue or copious amounts of court drama, I was a bit nervous going into this book. While there were some moments that felt slow to me, these didn’t last long and ultimately I was pleasantly surprised at just how invested I felt in Askia’s web of political games. The story is well-paced, and Askia’s character development was excellently handled as she learned to play the game, make allies, and manipulate those around her. As strong as she was, my heart broke for Askia as she constantly put saving her people over her own happiness.

This book includes a wonderful and dynamic cast of side characters who had me feeling a wide range of emotions, from love to frustration to suspicion to outright loathing. I enjoyed getting to know them as Askia did and felt every betrayal or slight alongside her. I adored her dutiful guard Illya, her sweet lady’s maid Nariko, and the cunning Queen Ozura, among others. Even better, the plot twists start early in the book (I mean within the first 10%!), and they don’t stop coming until you’ve finished the final chapter.

The magic system in this book is really fun, with enough limitations to make it believable yet plenty of mystery to keep it intriguing. Askia is still growing in her abilities and doesn’t quite understand the extent of her magic, so like everything else in the story we learn about her dark and powerful skills along with her. The other characters’ abilities aren’t explored quite as deeply, but I’m hoping the magic system will be expanded in book #2.

Otherwise, the worldbuilding was just okay. Country and city names were thrown around in a semblance of worldbuilding, but aside from the need to remember the names of the two main kingdoms, the rest didn’t seem important. The same can be said of the world’s cultures; the characters’ clothing and customs varied at surface level, with southern characters being described as ambiguously “dark skinned”, which I didn’t know how to interpret. Also, the title “The Frozen Crown” didn’t really come into play other than the fact that it’s the crown Askia is hoping to win back. It didn’t really fit for me.

All in all, I enjoyed the adult feel to this book and particularly liked the political intrigue more than I anticipated. After that cliffhanger ending, I’m looking forward to seeing how the next book unfolds!🤯.

Thank you to Avon and Harper Voyager via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Kristina.
254 reviews71 followers
December 17, 2021
The Frozen Crown is a really enjoyable adult fantasy debut. It's filled with so much delicious political intrigue. I seriously couldn't get enough. Princess Askia won me over easily. She is strong and determined but also flawed in a way that made her realistic as a character. The stakes in this story are very high and Askia is faced with many hard choices. I appreciated how believable it all was.

The world building was very well done. I especially appreciated the own world mythology the author created. It was really interesting. Greta Kelly created a vast world and it was a little hard to keep track of all the names of characters and places in the beginning. However, I was able to catch on pretty quickly. I also really enjoyed the magic system. It's not overly complex, but there are definitely rules and consequences for using magic.

The pacing was perfect. I was never bored while reading this book at any point. The ending left me dying for the next book! Be prepared for a cliffhanger. If you are looking for a fantasy with a ton of political intrigue, high stakes, and a dash of romance, definitely add this to your TBR. Highly recommend.

Thank you to Netgalley, Avon Books, and Harper Voyager U.S. for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Alex (The Scribe Owl).
342 reviews108 followers
January 1, 2021
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4.75/5 stars!

This book blew me away! I really didn't expect much from it, but The Frozen Crown ran laps around my expectations. It was a beautifully intricate royal politics read that was far better than most I've read in the genre!

In The Frozen Crown, we follow Askia, the heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh. Her nation is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands, no matter how hard she fights back. She is forced to go south and ask for aid from Emperor Armaan of Vishir. Askia is a willful, spirited woman, and has difficulty playing the political games of Vishir. As her adversaries draw closer from all sides, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

Lately, I've had a hard time finding a main character that I actually enjoy reading about. When reading about a character as stubborn as Askia, there is a thin line between "get 'em, girl!" and "help, my head hurts from banging it on this wall because of this stupidity" that authors cross way too often. Askia managed to stay on the good side of that line for the entire book! I never disliked her once. She was a strong, obstinate character that I rooted for the entire time! This may sound random, but she reminded me of Boudica, the strong and brave queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the conquering forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61

I know that this book isn't YA, so sorry for bringing up YA tropes, but it redid a bunch of the horribly overdone YA tropes in a way that it was still interesting! There is...a love triangle? But it's not a love triangle in a traditional sense. Actually, all the relationships in this book weren't traditional. There's a mutual, though forbidden, love, that I actually enjoyed. It was probably because it was addressed as a fact, and Askia didn't spend all her time mooning over him. And the tension near the end? Chef's kiss worthy perfection.

When reading a high fantasy book, if the world-building is terrible it brings down the book so much that the book is easily taken down a half or full star, at least in my book. And you'll be happy to know I didn't take any stars off for worldbuilding! Authors generally inspire places in books after real places in our world, so we had a very diverse world! There was a country that seemed eastern European, one that seemed like pre-industrialized England, and one that seemed middle eastern. It made for an interesting blend of cultures!

I had to take a little off because I sometimes got confused with the names. I understand that in a political book like this, you need to know a lot of names. And the names were pretty different from each other! But there were so many of them that I just couldn't keep them straight! Again, this might just be a me thing, but I got pretty switched around.

This book was amazing and so close to perfect! I'm so glad I got a copy. I am definitely interested in reading the sequel and I would recommend it for sure! I can't wait to see what this author does in the future! Just think, this is just her debut novel!
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books478 followers
November 1, 2021
In my previous RTC statement I said this was "a unique fantasy that sets itself apart from the others" but given that I can't remember a single thing about this?? either I need to re-read and make sure my brain retains it this time . . . or it really wasn't that unique? Either way, I clearly thought it was good enough to warrant 4 stars so there's that.
Profile Image for Sara.
108 reviews
February 20, 2021
I received an ARC of this book through a GoodReads giveaway (though I'm afraid I didn't quite get to it before the release date...)

I have such mixed feelings about this book. I was very excited about the premise - rightful queen, warrior in charge of an army, court politics, all of that. We open the book with Askia leading the Black Wolves - a seemingly-elite section of the Seravesh army. She's angling to get to Vishir - a neighboring empire that she grew up in - to get to court and petition the emperor for help...and that happens pretty immediately. She's aided on her journey by one of the two princes of the empire and a guard from the Wolves, and then in the empire is linked up with a noblewoman from the empire along with some other seemingly-unlikely help.

The magic system in this book was really interesting. I appreciated that, while elemental magic existed, what we mostly see is the other magics - death, healing, and mind (though healing and mind are sort of mostly straight-forward and used as simple tools, what we see of the death magic was really interesting). I wish we got a little bit more of a look into how Askia's powers worked - does she have a special connection to Vitaly because of the oath he took ? It seemed like there was more she should be able to do, but couldn't yet because of how she had to hide her powers at home, which leaves room for some interesting exploration possibilities.

I also enjoyed the variety in the setting inspiration. Askia's country seems to be a more northern european (maybe Slavik?) inspired, Vashir is more middle eastern, and there's hints at other provinces in the Vishiri empire being Italian/Mediterranean and Asian inspired (though each of those is slightly less defined than the last...understandable though, as they're not at the focus of the plot). However, a lot of those differences aren't really explored. We get a little lore of one of the provinces of Vishir, via some minor conflict introduced by someone Askia knew as a child. We also know that seemingly the whole world (at least all of the world we're introduced to) follows the same faith (The Two-Faced God, and its parts Lady Night and Day Lord). We know the north is a little more wild and Vishir is seemingly more strict/refined.

What really ruined this book for me, and made me pretty uncomfortable, was the "romance" (heavy quotes on the "romance" too). Obviously, the Randovan marriage plot is presented as bad. We as readers know what he's after and his history with the other women he's married. Each time it's brought up (once in a letter and a couple times brought up but the ambassador) there's a very heavy-handed like "oh no I'm totally doing this out of ~love~ and a desire for peace" vibe, but like...it's obviously Not That. It hits the "villain trying to get their way through marriage under false pretenses" trope, but that's not really what I'm talking about here...this is going to get very spoiler-y:

One of the plot things that bothered me specifically happened towards the end, quite spoiler-y:

Content warnings for slight violence, discussion of torture, and one slightly-spicy scene.

If the second book were already available, I might continue the series...the most uncomfortable plotline (in my opinion) has pretty solidly ended, and I did get invested in the politics and the magic. Given the wait, though, I'm not sure that I'll be returning to this series.
Profile Image for Ida Maria.
133 reviews30 followers
September 24, 2020
While this book definitely doesn't re-invent the YA action packed fantasy genre, featuring bad-ass female leads struggling to overcome all the odds that never seem to be in their favour, with a little dash of romance, a sprinkle of magic and a great deal of kickin' ass along the way, I am not mad about it. Because this shit just works, people- at least for me. I have yet to wake up and tire from these plot lines and I can appreciate it when it is well done. Kinda like chocolate cake. Many recipes- one result in all the ways in which it counts. Still freakin' good in my world. But now onto the book and many thanks to Edelweiss and the dudes and dudesses at Harper Collins for gifting me an e-ARC for this exciting new duology. You have my eternal gratitude (and obvious dramatics).

Askia was your standard YA female main character. The product of love between a run-away princess and a healer. Skilled with a sword, wronged by many, promised a kingdom, in some way wiser than her years and in others definitely not and...yeah she's got a shitty name. Askia? Seriously? Someone misspelled SASKIA here? Or what happened? I don't know why authors have to be so 'lazily creative'. Jesus. Just stop with that. Please.

The blurb already tells you a lot. Mostly that Askia settles at a foreign court and is pretty out of her element there, because she is a warrior in all ways that count and only a Princess by name. Trying to settle in at court and set herself apart at the same time, but not too much because her big personal (magical) secret can never come out or else, is what this book deals with a lot. It's not badly done. The navigation of the court, the characters crafted and moulded and how pieces fall together and some fall completely apart. Some of it gave me real Game of Thrones vibes (The Black Wolfe Legion?). It was also pleasurably grotesque how on one hand people were suffering and dying and on the other hand hunts were organised and big balls were held. I know this sounds vague. But I don't want to spoiler you too hard. Right up until NOW.

The book opens up on a battlefield. It was a bit confusing. No foreplay. Lots of names and banners and people with names that didn't really stick with me and already a lot of background story, which you could tell but not really understand. I have to say, I have had better starts with books before. This was neither the plunging into a story head first and swimming for your life (with pleasure), but more a kind of stumbling into it and being a wee bit disoriented and undecided about what to do next. In a weird way this first book felt a lot like a second book. Like I had missed the first one and had gone straight to the second one. Missed the important bits, the problems arising (jealous cousin stealing the crown/rivalry/Askia's parents dying/her relationship with her guards....), the battle unfolding, ending.. the solution dawning, plans forming....

It's clear within the first couple of pages how fierce Askia is. She is more woman than girl and doesn't suffer from shyness of false modesty [or general softness- this woman tortures friends without the blink of an eye, if her role as leader asks for it!]. I guess that's only plausible when you wield death magic and can communicate with ghosts and other horrors?
She has a mouth and a body and a brain and she knows how to work it. She is also a tad bit aloof and perhaps arrogant, but I liked that. Oh and she is a red head. Of course fierce female characters can only ever be red-heads 🙄 I don't know why half the books are filled with them right now. Nothing against red hair! It's just a heavily worked cliché these days.

Iskander, the Prince/or really just one of them, has "dark skin", whatever that is supposed to mean. He is also more a boy than a man and naive, yes. If you like that, you will like him. Sweet and stuff. Generic, really. And of course he has another brother who supposedly is the complete opposite (yes, this is not the least bit original- I said that at the beginning). But man, nothing is as it first seems and things change soooo freakin' FAST. Vitaly???!! What was that??? Oh my God.

To end this review, heed my words of warning bc I would have needed it:
1.If you love animals and are vegetarian or vegan, this book might trigger you. Graphic descriptions of killing animals for sport aka hunts is happening here. Not pleasant.
2.If you like humans: there is torture in this book and the descrition is VIVID. The deaths/kills as well. Not YA.
3.Also: men in this world can take several wives and women's rights are non-existent.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Eliza Baum.
418 reviews32 followers
February 9, 2021
Oh hell no. I'm too pissed off at this book to write a coherent review. Maybe tomorrow.


Update (tomorrow)

This book follows Princess Askia as she travels from her war-torn Northern kingdom to the empire in the south to seek aid in the form of an army. Once there, she finds that the methods she'll need to use to gain support fall outside her comfort zone, and she makes many blunders along the way, but ultimately she'll stop at nothing to achieve her goal.

There's really only one thing I liked about this book, and that's the fact that the focus/goal of the main character remains clear throughout. Everything Askia does is through the lens of helping her people by gaining an army.

And that's pretty much where the praise stops.

This book was such a letdown. It started strong, and I had really high hopes. Generally speaking, it wasn't difficult to read, and I found that I got through chapters pretty quickly. However, what started as an intense story about war devolved into a story about court politics--not a bad thing on its own, but the story was fixated on the parts of it that revolved around "proper" behavior of a woman in society and the need for Askia to get married (or not fall for a guy, as the case may be). The world itself was very interesting, so it really annoyed me to see it fall into the same tired handling of women in fantasy. It could have been far more nuanced than it was. Instead, what I found was a story that promised one thing and delivered another. Half the male cast was interested in Askia, and the two cases where she was interested were so poorly developed that I just didn't care. Given that I'm usually a sucker for a good romance subplot, this was also disappointing.

The setting shift was annoying, because with that setting came an entirely different story than what this could have been. There were too many characters with not enough attention to developing them. There was instalove/lust. The females characters flip-flopped between being friendly/nurturing to being cold and bitchy with very little provocation. The male characters were either flirty, creepy, or fatherly. The (albeit brief) sexual content was entirely unnecessary.

And god, the ending. Let's talk about that for a second. Strong, intense, war-focused opening. Bland, "let me be a proper woman, but not too proper because I'm a rebel" middle...BUT NOW let's get back to the action at the 90% mark and throw in the kitchen sink! I'm gonna spoil the whole thing under the tag, because I need to remember why I hated this once I forget this plot, just in case I'm ever insane enough to think this needs another try. No joke, it ends on a ridiculous cliffhanger. Also no joke, all of that happened between 83% and 97% (where the book ended) in the kindle version after about 75% of the book where NOTHING HAPPENS but social blunders.

The magic system was interesting, and that's the thing that saved this from a 1-star rating.
Profile Image for Tina.
189 reviews18 followers
September 15, 2020
Thank you to Netgalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Frozen Crown.
This story centers around Askia. A princess and rightful queen of Seravesh. Her cousin murders her grandfather the king and steals her kingdom. He is a puppet for another, The mad emperor of the Roven Empire. He is steadily burning and pillaging his way to Seravesh in order to take over it and all of the neighboring kingdoms. At the beginning of the book, we find Askia meeting with a neighboring kingdom begging for am army so she can take back her land and crown.
I’m not exactly sure how to explain my qualms with this book so please bear with me through this analogy. Have you ever tried to edit a video clip on your phone? You can slide the bars on either end making the clip shorter from both the beginning and the end of the clip. That’s how I feel about this book... Someone shortened the beginning and the ending and I was only left with the middle of the story. I was dropped into the beginning with no back story or world-building. I was mostly lost until around 30% of the book. After 30% The story did pick up and I enjoyed watching Askia find her way through court politics and intrigues. I felt compassion for the choices she needed to make and the dreams she also needed to surrender.
Then I was hit with a huge cliff hanger. I’ve read a lot of reviews lately and cliff hangers seem to be the central point hate in most of them. I am not normally in the “hate” camp on this subject but this ending was especially hard for me since I felt like the beginning of the book was lacking history. It was a double whammy if you will. I probably would have forgiven one or the other but both were too much. I think this story really had a lot of potentials to be great but lacked world-building and back story.
Profile Image for Cat Duffy.
205 reviews37 followers
February 23, 2021
THe Frozen Crown is a debut fantasy novel by Greta Kelly that follows, Askia, the rightful queen of Severask, as she travels to the neighboring empire of Visir to beg Emperor Armaan to aid her in fighting back against the conquering Roven empire and restore her rightful place on the Severask throne. This book has a little bit of everything -- political intrigue, love triangles (quadrangles at times), assination attempts, casual polygamy, and more. There are a lot of really interesting ideas in this book but, for me, the execution is a little off. 

For one thing, Askia is pretty annoying -- she's "not like other girls," which gets old pretty quick. For someone who is supposed to be a monarch, she's remarkably naive about politics -- says she repeatedly doesn't have time for "political games" and refuses to partake in court politicking .... when the whole point of her being in Visir is so she can convince the emperor to help her win a war? Like girl, the nobility of your cause isn't going to convince these foreign nobles to save your country! 

My other main problem is that the pacing in this book is off -- the plot revolves around political intrigue and court maneuvering for 300 pages and in the last 50 there's multiple assassination attempts, several deaths, marriage proposal(s), and an abduction! 

That being said, it IS an interesting world, and Kelly does a good job of laying out the warring factions and shifting allegiances. So, if you're into fantasy novels and your favorite part of Game of Thrones was the political power vacuum around the crown, this might be the book for you!

Thanks to HarperTeen and William Morrow for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Caity.
1,122 reviews11 followers
August 12, 2020
I particularly enjoyed the magic system in this book. It does seem to have clearly defined rules and limits but the characters’ don’t fully know everything about all the different types of magic. This creates interesting situations and problems as they try to discover more information. They also have to contend with people within the court who are distrustful of magic users and even outright hate them compounding the need for secrecy.

The court intrigue is also such a great part of this book. There is some culture clash as Askia learns to navigate the rules and social norms of the court. It is wonderful to see how she not only finds ways to overcome this but also uses her outsider status to her advantage. Figuring out who will really help or harm her and her kingdom is a fascinating game with the highest stakes for both herself and her country. The characters in this intrigue are well done and all around I found the book to be well written and captivating. The ending left me wanting more and I am excited for the next book.
Profile Image for Ehsaneh Sadr.
Author 2 books24 followers
October 15, 2020
Total page-turner! The stakes are real, the characters are complex and interesting, the world building is the perfect mix of exotic and familiar, and the love triangles are delicious and satisfying. And that cover...gorgeous! Enjoy!
Profile Image for ShannaBanana✨.
485 reviews29 followers
January 27, 2022
Well, I enjoyed this one. Our heroine, Askia is no damsel. She’s a witch, warrior and now a queen. She’s one of those rare, strong, independent female leads that I can actually get behind. The only downfall for me is the love triangles. It ruins so much for me. I did t understand the Insta love with her Captain of the Guard. It just came out of nowhere to me. I did like Iskander though. The characters had a lot of depth to them and it made it easy to either live them or hate them. Trust me, there’s enough for both too! Anywho… I’m going to start the next book cause that cliffhanger left me hanging and I’m devastated by the two losses at the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
780 reviews168 followers
November 9, 2021
Welp. That ending! This one would have been a 3.5, but that dramatic ending pushed this up to 4 stars for me. I didn’t love the hints of romance here, mainly because it didn’t seemed based on anything but proximity, but the politics and world building were phenomenal. Askia was a queen willing to do anything to save her country, and it looks like that’s gonna take an unexpected turn in book 2.
Profile Image for teatunesandtales.
187 reviews7 followers
April 1, 2021
Askia is the 22 year old queen of the Frozen Crown of Seravesh. Her cousin killed their grandfather, stealing the throne from her, and commences to torture her kingdom by handing it over to the evil Radovan.

Askia is the very illustration of watching a train wreck happen; you see it happening and can't do anything to stop it. This girl is a hot hot mess. And in the end, it all backfires.

I hover between a 2 and 3 star rating. 3 stars for world-bulding and magicks backstory. But 2 for Askia's personality and irrational behavior. I'm fairly certain the only characters I actually liked were Iskander and Illya. So, 2.5 stars.

(This book was a Goodreads giveaway).
Profile Image for Julie - One Book More.
934 reviews162 followers
January 19, 2021
Askia is the princess and rightful queen of Seravesh, a kingdom that is under threat from the evil emperor of the Roven Empire. As the emperor slowly takes over Seravesh, Askia meets with the neighboring kingdom to garner support and, hopefully, use their army to defeat the emperor. Political intrigue, dangerous trainings, and a murderous plot threaten to end Askia before the emperor can.

Askia is a fierce protagonist willing to sacrifice her life and freedom for her people. She continually casts her feelings and desires aside because she knows they’re not in the best interest of her country. An admirable and courageous woman, Askia’s abilities are rare, and she learns to use them throughout the novel. I loved this part of the story and can’t wait to see how she further utilizes her abilities in the next book.

Askia’s strength, intelligence, and beauty gain the attention of several suitors, most of whom are not of interest to Askia. She loves someone that she can’t have, and this forbidden romance is so good. The longing and desire Askia and her love interest feel are palpable, and I found myself rooting for the pair. The political maneuvering and the unrequited love are the highlights of this novel, as are the strong and determined women.

Askia is out of her element in court. Political maneuvering is not one of her strengths, and she struggles to find her place in this new situation. With guidance, she learns the customs and roles in court while also learning who she can and cannot trust. She also trains while in court and learns to control her power. I found the scenes where Askia works with other women to learn about her ability fascinating. Not only are her powers unique, but the strong, fierce, and smart women working together to learn and grow is also fantastic. Everything Askia does, from training to flirting with men, she does to benefit her kingdom.

The Frozen Crown is a gripping story filled with political intrigue, dynamic characters, and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! Thanks so much to Netgalley and for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,126 reviews458 followers
January 13, 2021
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Fantasy
*Rating* 4.0


The Frozen Crown is the first installment in author Greta Kelly's Warrior Witch Duology. 21-year-old Princess Askia Poritskaya e-Nimri, rightful heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh, has spent months with Black Wolf Legion battling invading soldiers of the Rovan Empire. In order to save her country, she goes on a courageous quest south to Vishir to seek aid from Emperor Armaan. With little training in decorum and political games, Askia deals with culture shock, patriarchal society, and enemies from past and present, and an enemy who will do anything to have her.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for Claudia.
292 reviews81 followers
January 21, 2022
This book took a LOT of unexpected turns and was pretty fun because of it.

This is going to be a pretty short review because I am not sure how to get into this book without spoiling the HELL out of it and I don’t want to do that. SO here we go

The Frozen Crown follows our heroine, Askia, the rightful queen to a country currently being overtaken by an encroaching and evil empire that worked with her cousin to overthrow her. Askia is currently on the run with a small army to the other empire in the world begging for help to stop the emperor and reclaim her throne. Also there’s magic!

Most of the book is actually a pretty slow burn political intrigue with Askia navigating court and especially the men within it. This is way more interesting than it might sound. Not to make the easy comparison but really its right there: think of a New Adult Game of Thrones. Its obviously not nearly as involved being a fairly short novel but still the comparison fits. There are sides that constantly maneuver and change in pretty unexpected ways.

The magic system is pretty basic with more of the interest forming around different coalitions forming for and against magic users themselves. Askia’s particular skills allow for a compelling side character and insights.

Then there is the romance. This did not go the way I expected it to at all. It made for very interesting reading to not actually know where it was going (and I was pretty conflicted on my feelings about any of it!). I saw some reviews not like where the direction a certain character took but I actually kind of liked that it seemed realistic (some dudes suck!).

I gasped at the ending and am super excited to read the next book!

Conversation Question: have any books had a romance that surprised you?
Profile Image for Kryssy Claremont.
120 reviews3 followers
March 13, 2021
So glad I won this gem in the Goodread's giveaway! This weighed heavier on the medieval and drama with aspects of magic, but I loved it! The ending was so unexpected. All I have to say is with that ending, there better be another book! Otherwise I would be super disappointed in the ending.
Profile Image for Jack.
155 reviews13 followers
June 4, 2021
I’ve decided to dive into this one in a form of an audiobook during work. However, I even regretted this since I really really liked the way this book was written.
Although… why the Crown is Frozen is kinda a mystery.

I really liked the fact that this book treats fantasy politics seriously. The importance of alliances, sacrifice, the way some elements of etiquette can influence anything and everything, the weight of a reputation… there’s not much politics itself but there’s plenty of intriguing. This keeps the story entertaining, Y’know, usually these kinds of books (fantasies about a princess of a nearly lost country, whose family’s been murdered, and who’s fighting against an evil villain kind of evilness) are much simpler, the intrigues are mainly like “lord N called the king an ass, did you know”, and all politics is somewhat written like “the prince worked so hard every day that he gained dark sexy circles under his impossibly beautiful eyes”. Here it’s not like that. Politics is a serious thing.

I really liked the protagonist, Askia. She’s a bit clichéd and still… she’s cool, she’s real. All the elements of her story are there for a reason (not just to make us feel things), they’re the building stones of her character and motivation. She has weaknesses, she’s ready to sacrifice herself in every way for her people, for her country. In comparison with all other fantasy princesses running around swinging swords and winning everything, The Frozen Crown feels fresh.

The concept of her powers is great. Askia is just learning, her powers feel earned. I hope it will be the same in the sequel. The book often mentions why witches have to be careful, however, Askia is in a place where she can try her powers. This allows the author to show us both the dangers these witches face, and their powers as well.

The book is written beautifully, yes, but… but the Slavic names made me laugh so, so much. Askia Portskaya sounds like her family’s been sewing pants in a port. I just smiled at Vitaly, Misha, Illya. Prince Iskander sounds like a Russian rocket complex. The guard in the palace sounded like they’re the guards of the Russian city Kazan. I almost died of laughter when lord Ishaq appeared! I mean… it literally means DONKEY in Russian.
Everything went well again until I saw the full name of the evil emperor. Radovan Kirkoskovich sounds like Kirkorov, a Russian pop singer known for weird memes.
Mission: be impressed with the villain – failed.

However, I really liked how, although Radovan was literally unbeatable from the very beginning, the book made him seem more and more dangerous with every second. I kept thinking, how is everyone supposed to defeat him when there are so many layers of power around him?

The book ends on a cliffhanger. I expected it but still liked the way it was written. I also want to mention that I really really approve of the villains’ appearance: pale as death, blood-red hair, gives off Bluebeard maniac vibes. Love it. Still… his name…

I would also like to talk about the romanceline in the book. It’s… not really there. Spoilers ahead, so see for yourself if you want to read it.

So, yes, the situation is complex. But there’s no classic romance with yearning and wanting.

Aaaand finally, my favourite WTF prize goes to:

Anyway, I loved the book. 8/10, minus points for the general moments and the scene.

To read: if you want fantasy that treats fantasy politics seriously; want a princess who’s really ready to sacrifice for her people; want a book where a monarch’s duty isn’t just sword-swinging against the evil evilness; want to see a curious magical system;
Do not read if: you want detailed politics – this book has more intriguing than that. You want a detailed romanceline; you want a lot of fighting and actions, this book is about talking, doubting, making hard decisions.
Profile Image for Leanne.
270 reviews54 followers
March 1, 2021
Finally, a YA book that doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out. Askia, the protagonist, is a pretty typical YA teenager — she’s brave, headstrong, and has secret magical abilities. But I really enjoyed watching her navigate a court in a foreign country. And I thought that Radovan, the villain who wants to take power of all the kingdoms, was interesting.

The things that annoyed me about this book: the ending. It felt so abrupt and almost ridiculous. I also felt like there was instalove, which is one of my biggest pet peeves in books.
Profile Image for Moto Z.
256 reviews20 followers
February 17, 2021
When you find a book that is so beautiful written you can’t help but fall in love with it. This is the type of book. This was a roller coaster to experience and so artfully written that I’m speechless. All I can say is you need to read this book because words won’t do it justice
Profile Image for Whitney Moore.
45 reviews6 followers
February 15, 2021
If you don’t have this book on your radar, you need to add it right now. Right now, go! This book has all the twists and turns, the perfect amount of magic and some saucy moments thrown in. I am dying to read the next book!⠀

The Good:⠀
•Some pretty gory details in certain parts.⠀
•Askia is amazing. I love her sense of humor and her sarcasm. I also love that she doesn’t give any fucks. Like throw all court politics and niceties right out the window.⠀
•The world-building and backstory is 🔥 ⠀
•The characters are all so well-developed and easy to imagine.⠀
•Askia’s magic is super cool!⠀
•The story of the Two-Faced God 🌜🌞 ⠀
•Excuse me, Greta Kelly. That ending was just dirty. ⠀

The Meh:⠀
NOTHING. Okay, it was a teeeeensy slow in the beginning but that was not a bad thing.
Profile Image for ❄︎ Amy Estridh.
263 reviews111 followers
November 6, 2021
"In what world can you win a game by refusing to play?"

3.5 stars
Wait, how does this not get the attention it deserves?? This is the first book and the author's debut in a new adult fantasy series, which I'm keeping in mind while writing this review. I already think this was great work, and it will probably only get better from here.

Askia is the rightful heir to her kingdom, and to save it, she needs to play by court rules, political games, and master the art of sacrificing pieces of herself for the greater good. Although I hoped for more backstabbing and snakes (GOT and the cruel prince broke me?) it was still intriguing and I honestly never had a dull moment while reading.

Askia is a fant-fucking-astic character. Aight so fine, she gives us the whole "cool girl YA vibe" but I think it works out fine anyway, and she's growing bit by bit. I'd like to see a bit more morally grey traits, tho. Unfortunately, most of the side characters were too flat, or they simply didn't get enough attention, which made it hard to get an opinion or feeling about them. I DID, however, manage to pick up the hots for a certain someone, and I will be over my head with disappointment if I won't see a happy ending where they are concerned. If you tell me you're not a bit soaked after this, you're lying:

"I will burn this city to the ground for you and return to Sevaresh empty-handed if you command it. You are not alone."

Kelly is doing a great job in a sense where it's not too heavy, easy to keep up, but still is covered by the biggest necessities for a good world-building. Instead of fact-dumping, they are given as they come, and there's never a sense of being overwhelmed. I especially enjoyed everything Witchy, I'd like to explore that a bit more in the sequel thank you!

I must point out that something that tires me extremely is the old-fashioned way women at court in fantasy books are supposed to behave. It's exhausting. And frankly, boring as hell. It would be awesome to read a novel where the females rule every aspect of a palace, and not only the importance of hair-styling.

I wished for more adultness. It was a bit too much YA feeling for not being YA. Don't be afraid to give in to the brutality, complications and awfulness of adulthood.

I enjoyed this. Gimme more!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
480 reviews19 followers
August 16, 2021
I had an okay, if pretty unremarkable experience with The Frozen Crown. It's been around 3 weeks since I've read the book (at the time of writing this review), so this review is going to be short and sweet. I don't have many detailed recollections of what happened throughout the novel but I do want to quickly go through a few things that I enjoyed / didn't really vibe in the following paragraphs.

Anyways, I'm going to talk about the nice things first. I enjoyed the wintry atmosphere and the magic system. I thought the visual elements of the book is pretty well done and I also hope to learn more about the magic in the follow-up novels because the concept intrigued me. Similarly, I'm also grateful that the book felt pretty effortless to read. I didn't have to worry about authors using purple prose to deliberately confuse readers.

On the flipside, I personally found the actual content of The Frozen Crown forgettable and mediocre. The romance is predictable and I was let down that the book didn't focus more on the fantasy elements (that seeme so promising to me). I also think the intimate scenes (aka the unhealthy elements of new adult fiction from Hell) could had been cut.

Concerns aside, I was glad that I didn't suffer through The Frozen Crown while I was having a reading slump. There's certainly promising potentials in the fantasy elements but ultimately the actual execution of these ideas falls a bit short of my standard.

N.B. This book contains following content warnings: weapons, intimate / sex scenes, abuse, and violence

(2.5 stars out of 5)
Profile Image for Alexia.
222 reviews33 followers
January 16, 2021
Welcome to my not review review where I will babble on about how I felt about the book more than the book itself 😌

This is fantasy okay. We got court politics, a well thought out magic system, yearning, pining, betrayal. The author put her foot on our necks and did not let up one bit. I stayed up till 6am finishing this cause I could not put it down. I cried severaltimes.

Ilya. I think that’s all I need to say about that. (But no really I would take a paper cut to the eye for this man. Someone please get some fanart made now).

I have never wanted a character to love and sleep with so many characters yet here we are. Askia deserves a harem of men. Her own menagerie. I would be there as her dutiful servant of course.

I hate being omniscient cause it’s like watching an impending trainwreck. You know what the problem is and what’s about to happen and no matter how much you yell at people to look, you just have to watch in horror. This is why I didn’t even shed a tear at the end cause I just knew some mess was gonna happen 😔 also the snippet we got of the next book! Finna sneak into Harper Voyager’s office and find a copy okay (for plausible deniability though I would never do this). And at this point I might as well add a finished copy to my cart cause I need this book on my shelves.

*Thank you to the publisher for an ARC. All opinions are my own*
Profile Image for LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!.
561 reviews139 followers
November 8, 2021
My thanks to Harper Voyager, Netgalley and Greta Kelly! Anyone who is not reading this book, should. It's a duology. Love! I do hate waiting around for 3 to 15 years! I was annoyed by how much I cared about "court life!" I like a mixture of fight, magic and courtly conniving. If I had ever thought that I was tired of Court...I wasn't! Then came the last 40 or so page's. Askia! Her husband and the first wife? Egads! I need the rest of this book now! I need to see some freak lose everything and 🔥burn! In witchfire! I loved this story, and want more!
Update:First book was awesome. Next! Ugh! Awful!
Profile Image for Alexandra.
322 reviews12 followers
June 8, 2021
I flew through this book in a couple days fast paced nice world building and Askia was a kick ass warrior there were some parts that I did see comimg and the love triangle eh? I would like to see where the second book takes me.
Profile Image for Scarlette.
66 reviews14 followers
January 29, 2021
Overall theme/ idea of book was good but very confusing with too many names and locations.
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