“Blizzard”, much like the first book in The Black Ice Trilogy, takes a twist on the gothic vampires that have become so commonplace in YA fantasy. I loved Snow for the risks it took in tweaking those vampire tropes, and Elliot’s lyrical, and often poetic, writing when it came to setting the scene and Neva’s emotions from a first person perspective. This installation kept true to all those things I enjoyed from the first book, but it does not pick up exactly where book 1 leaves off, instead, the reader is introduced to Neva’s original incarnation and we get the backstory that book 1 was missing.
The first half of the book is a bit like a prologue, it’s no longer in first person, and instead follows Eliza and how Neva and the vampires originally came to be, and sets up their ongoing conflict with Reegan and his demons. While I really enjoyed this section and learning more about this world—and filling in those gaps I had from the first novel—I do have to give a trigger warning for rape. It’s not graphic, but it is not subtle. While it is central to the story arc, just be forewarned that it is present, but thankfully the author moves on and doesn’t linger longer than necessary. While I enjoyed this section and getting to meet Neva and Thedryck when they were just “kids”, this was the first half of a very long book, so I was starting to forget what the main plot was that had been carried over from the books predecessor: finding Lucy and saving her from an evil entity.
The back story IS necessary though, because without it, there is too much left unanswered from the first book, and there would be no sense of urgency leading into the last book of the trilogy. So while it does feel a bit like a separate book, especially with the shift in POV, it was thoroughly enjoyable and, once again, Elliot’s writing is absolutely lovely. She really does have a great talent for prose, so even though it’s not an easy read, it’s a great one.
I will say that Eliza and Neva tended to have a similar voice, so at times they didn’t feel as distinct as they otherwise could have been. There are also a lot of new creatures and characters that get introduced—some pretty late in the novel. It can be a bit challenging at times to keep track of who is who and what they are, or their abilities. Hopefully there won’t be so many unnecessary characters in the next book (think Star Trek redshirts, they are just there to die) so the reader can better focus on those who matter. Zachariah still confuses me as a character and just what his motivations were, but that could be because of the break I took between reading the first and second book and I simply don’t remember what happened on that front. There were times when Neva’s stubbornness and her impulsive nature really bugged me, but at the same time, that also made her a well-rounded character, so I’m letting that go. The romance in this book, much like the vampires, does not follow the well-used tropes of the genre, either. That may be frustrating to some people, but I kind of liked that Neva and Thedryck weren’t completely besotted with each other, they frustrate each other and have to work on things, you know, like real people do. And, one of my biggest quips from the first book was that Thedryck never answered any of Neva’s questions. That’s not the case in this book! Which makes me a very happy camper.
All in all, I thought this book was a huge improvement from the first book, and I liked that book a lot! This book answered so many lingering questions I had from the first book, while simultaneously creating new tensions and problems—both big and small between Felicity, Reegan, Helsing and Neva and Eliza. I like the “powers” that each vampire has and how they are not only unique to the individual, but make sense with their personality and greatest desires. I love the added complexity to the characters and their relationships with each other. Also, and it can’t be stated enough, Elliot is an extremely talented writer with a clear vision for her characters and where they are going in the trilogy. Despite my minor qualms with the characters and my small issues with the first half of the book feeling like a separate prequel, this book and series has come so far that I would be remiss to give it anything less than 5 stars, I can’t wait for Neva and Reegan’s rematch! And thanks to the author for providing me a copy for review.
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