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The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood in this romantic historical fantasy from the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore.
When Katya loses control of her power to freeze, her villagers banish her to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev.
Expecting punishment, she is surprised to find instead that Sasha is just like her—with the ability to summon fire. Sasha offers Katya friendship and the chance to embrace her power rather than fear it.
But outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies are organizing an army of people bent on taking over the entire world.
Together, Katya’s and Sasha’s powers are a fearsome weapon. But as their enemies draw nearer, will fire and frost be enough to save the world? Or will Katya and Sasha lose everything they hold dear?
Inspired by Russian mythology, this lushly romantic, intensely imaginative, and fiercely dramatic story is about learning to fight for yourself, even when the world is falling down around you.
Other Books in the Series
By Jessica Leake
Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover & ebook, 384 Pages
April 10th 2018 by HarperTeen
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
Praise for the Book
“Beyond a Darkened Shore is thrilling and romantic. This is a must-read for lovers of fantasy, mythology, and folklore.” – Kody Keplinger, New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF and Run
“With undead armies, flesh-eating spirit horses, and a powerful heroine, fantasy, romance, and historical-fiction readers will have a great time.” – Booklist
“While Morrigan and Odin are terrifying, raven-haired Ciara is the star. Beautiful, strong, and independent, she is the perfect warrior princess. Epic historical fantasy filled with deadly creatures, simmering romance, and nonstop action.” – Kirkus Reviews
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a free, honest review. All opinions are my own. ***
“Remember, devotchka, sometimes the place we do not want to go is the best place for us after all.” – Jessica Leake, Through the White Wood
With a tagline like “The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood” I couldn’t wait to dive in Leake’s latest novel and read it in a day.
Meet Katya who has the ice powers. When she loses control, she is banished by her small, rural village and sent to the Kiev prince to receive her punishment. The usual punishment for the crime she committed? Death. However when she gets there she finds a prince that perhaps isn’t as cruel as the rumors say and people like herself who have magical abilities. Faced with choices, will Katya make the right ones in time? Because the enemies of Kiev are coming…
Let’s start with the basics of: pacing, flow, and language. Admittedly I was a tad thrown by the incorporation of Russian at first. I wasn’t sure exactly what they were saying and didn’t discover the glossary until the end. It was a bit like a decipher game, but the use of the Russian dialect enhanced the story, make it more concrete for me. As for pacing and flow? Both were spot on and didn’t leave any room for slow hiccups. At times I wanted more description, more interaction, and yet enjoyed what tidbits I did get from the folklore incorporated. I wanted to be in that world. The weaving of history and folklore – brilliant! More please!
Now onto Katya herself. She was relatable, struggling with fear, grief, and self-doubt. A healer in training it would seem too. My only big issue with her was I felt she didn’t get the ending she deserved. I had expectations for her, just her and not the combination of her and Sasha, and unfortunately I was a bit disappointed with her ending (well half-ending, not the epilogue ending). We are in her thoughts for most of the book and yet she felt just a touch out of reach for me. On the flipside of this – some of her ancestry reveals? Yes! Her animal companion? I want one. It is a sign I should do falconry.
In relation to Katya, I adored Sasha. He was elusive, a bit standoffish, and a prince…while I could say he could’ve been strengthened with more development, I still couldn’t help but like him. What caused the war though? What was his deepest fears? Desires? So, like Katya, I wish some of his character story holes had been filled but his character still gave me the warm and fuzzies.
Overall, I rate this 3.5/5 stars. It is a read full of magic, romance, and friendships. I adored the folklore and just wanted more. I look forward to seeing what else Leake has in store.
About the Author
Jessica Leake is the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore as well as the adult novels Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, four young children, lots of chickens, and two dogs who keep everyone in line. Visit her at www.jessicaleake.com.
2 winners will receive a copy of Through the White Wood (US only)
1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Ends April 17th