Review: Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith

Reviewed by Ronelle

The vast and frozen empire of Russalka has been ruled for centuries by a royal family who works miracles from the saints. But neglect of the people stirs rebellion in the streets and a neighboring country is on the verge of invasion. On the eve of her beloved brother’s funeral banquet, the young princess Katza is presented as the next heir to the throne. But it is a terrifying prospect for her as, since she was a child, she’s been tormented by visions of her bloodied hands destroying Russalka—a clear message from the saints that she must never rule.

Then she meets Ravin, a mysterious prophet with visions of his own: visions of Katza as a regal empress with unimaginable power. All she has to do is seize upon the holy magic of her bloodline. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza begins to wonder whether he has her best interests at heart. With revolution boiling over and war looming at the border, the greatest threat to Russalka may be Katza herself.


Ugh, I have so many complaints about this book and I have to admit, I got so fed up with the ‘heroine’ that I only skimmed the second half. The description promised a lot of things it never delivered on and I HATED Katza, the main character. The fantasy veneer over events heavily based on/influenced by the Russian Revolution was pretty thin, though the unique religious structure was just interesting enough to keep this from being a straight-up F review…barely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a more wimpy, whiny, and brainless character than Katza… at least, not one who was presented as a heroine I was supposed to take seriously. Look, I get that losing her brother was tragic and traumatic and that she’d been brought up to not use her gifts, but WE GET IT ALREADY, STOP REMINDING US EVERY OTHER SENTENCE. She had zero personality, going from milquetoast to control freak without learning anything or developing, and her wishy-washy emotions and reactions had nothing to back them up; they were more a convenience for the author than because they were a natural reaction to a given situation. Ravin was flat, predictable, and beyond obvious, creepy from the beginning with nothing to really redeem him. He never grows or changes. The ‘romance’ between the two was eye-rollingly contrived and clumsy and not present enough to merit this being classified as a romance. I wish I’d known that before I agreed to review this book, because I’d have passed and saved myself the wasted time.

As far as secondary characters were concerned, they were ultimately forgettable. All the Russian-esque names were hard for me to remember, let alone pronounce, though it might not have been such a struggle if any of them had been given a personality. The arc of the political goings-on was boringly predictable and Katza being totally oblivious to it for the majority of the story just made me want it to be over already. In addition to crappy characters and names that were both hard to pronounce and remember, Web of Frost needed an editor in a bad way. Nothing screams “rookie” more than a double-spaced ebook (if you’ve ever stumbled across one, you know that annoyance). There were also extra words and sentences that were cut off by… incomplete dialogue, maybe? I honestly don’t even know what was going on (shaking free of her prophet-“ @ loc 268). The writing style didn’t flow well and for what promised to be a rich setting, there was no feeling to it.

However, as I mentioned earlier, this book wasn’t all let-down and unfulfilled potential. In fact, the religious aspects of Web of Frost were the a redeeming quality of interest. The idea of magic based on the gifts and blessings of saints was unique and fairly well thought out. It reminded me a little of the deity setup in The Elder Scrolls, with patrons of certain gifts/attributes. Honestly, it was pretty cool. I wish Katza had employed it less clumsily but seeing how it all worked and how effective it could be made me want to know more.
Bottom line: Even with the intriguing religion, this was disappointing overall and not recommended. I will not be continuing the series.

Rating: D

**I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

Click to purchase: Amazon

Web of Frost
by Lindsay Smith
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Eventide Press

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