Hey lovely readers!
Today’s post is a book review of Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg
“Seventeen-year-old Smitha has the wealth, status, and beauty that make her the envy of her town—until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha’s desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her renewed hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?”
Guys…..another book that has me so so conflicted. So you guys probably already know that I’m not a big fan of this author, like I could not stand the Paper Magicians series (which I did actually finish). But my lovely friend Skye adores this author, so I wanted to give Followed by Frost a try. I did and I didn’t hate it! But I didn’t find much to like about it either. Do I think it’s better than Paper Magician? Yes in some ways. Would I read it again? Nope. And finally would I recommend it? I really don’t think so, but maybe the stuff that bothered me won’t bother you!
Lets start with what I did like about this book. The world in which Smitha lives sounds just beautiful. I also loved the idea of death as a character, even if he is a total jerk most of the time hahaha. Lo was probably the best thing about this book and sadly he comes into the book much too late and I wish that we had gotten much more of him. Plus anyone associated with Prince Imad I absolutely loved because of the kindness they showed to Smitha. I absolutely loved the ending. It kind of made up for the extremely disappointing Paper Magician series ending. And finally, it made me so happy that in the end Smitha needed no one else but herself to change her heart.
Now for the things that I really struggled with. First of all the fact that Smitha is cursed because she rejects a man just pisses me off so much. It reminded me of the many experiences I’ve had where men have pursued me, I’ve politely tried to decline them, and when I do I’m painted as a bitch. So Smitha, a 17 year old girl rejects a 25 year old man whom she has no interest in. (And yes she is a total brat at first, as most 17 year olds are.) But to me, what kept me from fully invested in this book is the message it sent. You will be punished in some way if you reject a guy.
And then to add insult to injury, Smitha eventually comes to feel gratitude for Mordan. His curse helped her see the error of her ways. She had been so selfish and the curse made her a better person. If she had never been cursed she wouldn’t have changed for the better. Maybe. Maybe not. The fact that she eventually grew up and became more mature should not be used as an argument for her curse being a good thing. I am glad that Smitha became a more caring person, that she learned beauty goes deeper than the skin. But it’s unfortunate that it came at the hands of a scorned man who felt he had the right to punish her for simply not wanting to be with him. Mordan’s actions cannot and should not be condoned or reasoned away. I also recognize that Smitha regretting her past behavior is supposed to be a step towards changing her heart. But instead it seemed more like appeasement. Like you’re so right Mordan, I was awful, thank you for cursing me. She was selfish, lazy, and conceited. But again she’s 17! Cut her some slack. It’s like we’re supposed to blame Smitha for being attacked and cursed. And that alone made me extremely uncomfortable.
Perhaps I’m reading into this book all wrong. I’m choosing to believe that the author did not intend to send such a terrible message with this book. But that’s the thing about books, everyone interprets them differently. And for me, this one just rubbed me the wrong way too many times. But please if you read this book and liked it more than I did give me your perspective. I want to know how you saw it all 🙂 While writing this I constantly stopped to consider if I was reading too much into this, if I was being dramatic or ridiculous. So please let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading guys! Talk to you soon! ❤ Adrianna
*Cover and synopsis from Goodreads