Tuesday, January 8, 2013
First Frost - a literary review
This is embarrassing. Grown men are not supposed to be bowled over by novels clearly written for young (and likely female) audiences. I have the pleasure of being in a writer's group with Ms. DeJesus and when a chance came along to purchase the Kindle version of First Frost on a holiday bargain, well, I had to go for it. I had some extra credits on my Amazon Christmas gift card and said to myself, "What the heck?"
Having previously read the synopsis for First Frost - as well as a few blog reviews - I figured it would be kind of a girly fairy tale with a twist or two. From what I'd seen and heard, there was enough to interest me. I write in the fantasy genre and fairy tales are, at heart, fantasy; so...
First and foremost, First Frost is an excellent novel. It is well written with engaging characters and a tight, well-defined plot. The pacing is perfect; at no point in the story did I say to myself, "That's bogus! Character X would never be able to pull that off," or anything of the sort. The growth of Bianca Frost, the story's main protagonist is beautifully written and despite my rather gruff, public pooh-poohing of modern, young adult fiction, I was bowled over by what a great book First Frost is.
No novel is perfect and, if I thought hard, I could probably list a couple of grammatical slips that might have annoyed me but it would amount to nit picking at best. One thing I've noticed while reading new fiction over the last few years is that most of the books universally have a smattering - to a lesser or greater degree - of spelling and/or usage errors. I've read some brilliant stories that are able to overcome the author's obvious faux pas and still be good. In the case of First Frost, while there are a few grammatical errors, they are minimal and by the halfway point in the story I had forgotten about the ones I'd noted and didn't discover any more. This could be because there aren't any later in the tale - or it could be because the book is such a splendid read that I failed to even note them. I think I'll settle on the latter.
If I had to pick one thing that makes First Frost stand out it would be the characters. As I've noted in previous commentaries, for me, the mark of a great story is that feeling you get when you close the book at the end and immediately start missing the characters. Bianca, her best friend Ming, mom Rose, dad David and many others came to life vividly as I turned the pages. My hat is off to Ms. DeJesus for filling the world of First Frost with a three dimensional, lovable (and in some cases hate-able) cast of characters.
I highly recommend First Frost and can't wait for the soon-to-be released sequel!
Just don't tell anyone - I don't want to lose my man card :-)
Once you read it, come on back and tell me what you think!
The copy of First Frost that I reviewed was purchased by me on Amazon.com - I received no compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of reading a great book.
For your own copy, click on over to Amazon and get yours! (link to Kindle version)