Packed with deadly intrigue, fierce and powerful women, and high stakes, Greta Kelly's fantasy-adventure debut, The Frozen Crown, is an exciting and intricate series opener.
Princess Askia, warrior and rightful heir to the realm of Seravesh, needs an army to take back her kingdom from the forces of Radovan, the mad emperor of Rovan. Her best hope lies with Emperor Armaan of Vishir. An appeal to Armaan's handsome, naive son, Prince Iskander, gains Askia passage to Vishir, though it takes seeing a razed village to convince him.
Once in Vishir, Askia finds herself ill-equipped to navigate court politics. Plain-spoken and with no grasp on Vishiri etiquette, she quickly makes enemies. Even Iskander's support causes trouble for her; meeting the prince unchaperoned earns her the initial disdain of his mother, Queen Ozura, Armaan's principal wife. Askia's one offer of protection comes from the Shazir, a priesthood of witch-hunting zealots who once tortured her and murdered her parents, and she could not accept it if she wanted to. Askia is secretly a death witch, able to see and speak with ghosts, and the Shazir would want her dead if they knew.
Borrowing the young adult fantasy genre's staple of a young woman shouldering great responsibility while coming into her power, Kelly's series should have crossover appeal to YA readers as well as adult fantasy readers. Kelly leaves some world-building details for later installments, but still creates a rich political dynamic while magic users dodge religious fanatics whose influence is growing. The Frozen Crown has the hallmarks of a successful series. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads