{Review} GATHERING FROST by Kaitlyn Davis

GATHERING FROST is on sale digitally for 99 cents!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    THE WORLD ENDED ON A Saturday in spring. Beautiful. Sunny. The sort of afternoon that pulled New Yorkers from their hibernation, urging them to shed their floor-length coats and stiletto boots, to let the sun kiss their pale skin once more.
    When the earthquake began, my mother and I were in Central Park. "Pedal!" I remember her shouting. "Pedal!" And I did. My little legs pumped in circles, my heart lifted as I felt her fingers release the bike, and suddenly I was riding on my own. For the first time. The breeze whipped against my grinning cheeks, stinging my eyes.
    But then the ground shook. The earth began to tremble. And I had no hope. In a flash, I was on the ground, sandwiched against the concrete as screams rose around me. Darkness stole my vision as my mother's arms encircled me, hugged me closer. Teeth chattering, I tried to be strong. But tears leaked from my eyes, the cries of a baby. Shame burned my chest.
    Time passed but my young mind had lost count. Minutes. Hours. I still don't really know. But when the ground stilled, I woke to a new world.
(pg. 10, US E-ARC edition)
This review was first posted at A Backwards Story on February 26, 2016 and has been updated upon a recent re-read. 

“I wish I could say I was the hero of the story. A resister. A rebel. Someone who lived to bring an end to the queen who stole my childhood--my mother, my life, my very world. But I'm not. I'm not the good guy. I'm the one who puts the good guys in their graves.” 


The first time I read GATHERING FROST, I was really intrigued by the unique world being built, and so glad that it was part of a new series entitled Once Upon a Curse. I had seen Kaitlyn Davis' popular Midnight Fire series around, but I'm not really into paranormal, so it never appealed to me. (I've since also read her fantastic A Dance with Dragons series, and am so eager to read more books from her in the future!) Earlier this month, I re-read both GATHERING FROST When I heard that she was coming out with a new series entitled Once Upon a Curse , I was immediately intrigued. Fairy tales are right up my alley! The first novel, GATHERING FROST and WITHERING ROSE, in anticipation of this week's release of the long-awaited third book, CHASING MIDNIGHT. The binge-read renewed my fervor for this series, and I'm so sad that it will conclude this November with PARTING WORLDS. I love the world-building that brings our world together with a fairy tale realm full of magic and devastates both lands, forever building a new world that must be navigated.

Psst, it's not a part of the Once Upon a Curse
series, but you can get the first novel + novella
in the
A Dance of Dragons series for FREE
right now...and the series is so good
that you must treat yourself! ^_^
The series centers around a new world: A major earthquake has forced our modern world to combine with one straight out of a fantasy. Young Jade sees a beautiful princess emerge from her home in New York City and, as a Disney Princess-obsessed youth, thinks she will make everything right, never suspecting that she's actually embracing an evil queen. With the merger of two worlds, the New York City skyline is gone along with electricity and other modern conveniences. In its place is magic. The queen of Kardenia is able to wield it and bestow upon her subjects the gift of indifference. Nobody cares about their loved ones or has the ability to have feelings save for the occasional twinge of fear to keep them on their toes.

Jade was only six when the world shattered and remembers nothing about her former life. She's the only female in the queen's guard and a skilled fighter. She's okay with the ice in her heart; it's been there as long as she can remember. When the queen's son Asher resurfaces after being AWOL since the earthquake, the queen involves Jade in a plot to gain his trust and bring him back.  Jade allows Asher and the rebels to capture her and bring her to their base. In gaining Asher's trust, however, she finds her frozen heart thawing and realizes that, away from the queen's influence, she is able to have emotions again. Can Jade really embrace her past in favor of her newfound comrades when the queen still has an icy grip on her heart, or will she betray her new friends in order to finally be free?

I really enjoyed the way GATHERING FROST had the feel of a fairy tale despite being a completely original story. At only 200 ebook pages, I wished it was longer because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the characters, but the length will feel perfect to many readers who feel bogged down by longer page counts. This book felt more like an original retelling than it did based on anything specific. If the summary hadn't claimed that the story was tied to Sleeping Beauty I would have never suspected it, for the ties binding the two together are very loose. (The queen actually reminded me of The Snow Queen!) It didn't matter to me, though, because the story was so interesting and kept me reading to the point where I'd groan when I had to go to work or finish my lunch break.) The romance was handled well, and had a lovely quality to it that will appeal to both younger and older readers, a line that's very hard to draw and walk along in YA. It's also more of a slow-build than it is insta-love, which I always appreciate, and it still had a fairy tale quality to it. I also really liked the way Jade grew as she learned to have her own thoughts and emotions. I wasn't anticipating the direction the novel took, either, and it kept me turning pages to figure out how the final climax would shake out. I really like the way the modern era merges with a more archaic one, and am excited to see that this has happened in more places around the world than just NYC (Sorry to all the characters facing crazy, evil monarchs, but !!!!!), which means many more books set in this world..and hopefully exploring many other countries and cultures!

GATHERING FROST was a fun, fast, engaging read, and I would definitely be willing to read another book from Davis in the future! (In fact, the companion novel WITHERING ROSE is even better -- a retelling of Beauty and the Beast where the beast will be the one to save Beauty! Stop back tomorrow to hear all about it! And if you haven't done so already, check out yesterday's interview with Kaitlyn Davis to hear all about the brand-new release CHASING MIDNIGHT and get a sneak peek at the final book, PARTING WORLDS!)

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: PG+ ( super vague innuendo that won't be picked up by younger readers and still feels clean when it is mentioned that they fell asleep atop the bed, but with clothes on. )
Violence: PG13 ( Death and murder; giant's head exploding; red rain falls after a hit is made, etc. )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This definitely had a fairy tale feel to it! I would pick it up blind at a bookstore to find out more! 

 I like the fact that, since Kaitlyn Davis is self-published, she designed the cover herself. It didn't look homemade, but really pretty. That's one great thing about publishing (especially when you can also art!): You have so much more control over your covers!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Kaitlyn Davis
Received: For Review

Will his kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart?

Will the prince's kiss be enough to revive her frozen heart? Don't miss GATHERING FROST, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.

"I wish I could say I was the hero of the story. A resister. A rebel. Someone who lived to bring an end to the queen who stole my childhood--my mother, my life, my very world. But I'm not. I'm not the good guy. I'm the one who puts the good guys in their graves."

Jade was only a little girl when the earthquake struck. Before her eyes, half of New York City disappeared, replaced by a village that seemed torn out of a storybook. Horses and carriages. Cobblestone streets. A towering castle. And, above all, a queen with the magical ability to strip emotions away.

Ten years later and Jade has forgotten what it is to feel, to care...even to love. Working as a member of the queen's guard, she spends most of her time on the city wall staring at the crumbling skyscrapers of old New York. But everything changes when the queen's runaway son, Prince Asher, returns. Under his relentless taunts, her blood begins to boil. Under his piercing gaze, her heart begins to flutter. And the more her icy soul begins to thaw, the more Jade comes to question everything she's ever known--and, more importantly, whose side she's really on.