Friday, May 4, 2012

Kate Bloomfield - Frost Arch

Frost Arch
by Kate Bloomfield
Elizabeth Hay, Editor

Kindle Edition Available



Product Description (from Amazon)
In a future where ignorance has destroyed the world that we know, humans are slaves and Mages - advanced beings with abilities beyond everyday reach - rule the land.

Avalon Redding is one such Mage. Barely eighteen years of age, she wields the gift of fire yet she is unable to control it. She leaves her family in the dead of night and heads to the city of Frost Arch, her future seemingly grim.

Will Avalon be able to overcome the trials that befall her? Will she be able to save the ones she loves and stay strong within herself?

Time will tell.

'Frost Arch' is the first book in The Fire Mage trilogy

(Approx 115,000 words - 6136 Kindle Locations)

Book #2 is due for release in August 2012

About the Author (from Amazon)

Kate Bloomfield was born in London, and grew up in Australia. Kate spent her youth studying Graphic Arts, before working as a full time Artist, and writing in her spare time. Her first book 'Frost Arch' (Published Feb 2012) is part one in a soon to be released trilogy.
Follow Kate on Twitter: @KateBloomfield
Check out Kate's blog for updates on her writing: www.katebloomfieldauthor.blogspot.com.au
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

O.Scarlett! Review by Rachel

I found this book for Free via the Pixel’s of Ink, Young Edition. 
This is book 1 of a yet unwritten trilogy.  Book 2 is to come out later this year.  The book is written first person, from 18 year old Avalon’s point of view.

The prologue gives an excellent overview of the setting and culture where Avalon lives.  This is a world over 1,000 years after the collapse of our world, a popular setting.  There was a huge war between the magic power-weilding Mages, and the technical Humans.  The Mages won, and all Humans were treated as nothing more than work beasts, without rights or feeling or language.  ----  It was feared that Avalon’s little sister had been born a human, and their family went to great lengths to hide her.

-----  Basic Plot  ----

Avalon is a Fire Mage, but she has very little control of her powers.  Both of her parents are also Fire Mages.  She also has a younger sister which shows no talent at all.  After several near disasters with her sister, Avalon decides that the best choice is for her to run away.

She finds a ride with the old man that has a delivery mail service.  He allows her to ride in his carriage, with the instructions to leave a small box alone – as it contains a dangerous animal found in the wild.  By the end of the ride, she decides to rescue the little animal from a life as a science experiment.

She finally arrives at a city, Frost Arch, where it is the depth of winter.  In fact, it is always winter here.   She quickly finds a job, lighting fires at the Forsythe manor house, and warming up the tubs of water.  She meets a young man, Jack, who is the Healer there, and helps her find the house and get settled.  He teaches her all the duties that she will be performing, and helps her learn her routines.  She enjoys his friendly helpfulness and counts him as her first real friend.  She learns most of what she needs to know to survive in the real world from Jack.  She also meets a black haired girl named Raeven, who works at the post office.

Her first night, she discovers that the little animal that she rescued and she thought she had let free, was still with her.  It was a tiny fox with wings, and he is able to camouflage himself, and appears to be able to understand her.  It doesn’t stay tiny for long, and by the end of the week, Jack has discovered her pet, and joined her in an attempt to hide it. 

Jack talks to his friend Camryn, who raises and trains the Master’s Pegasi horses.  Camryn reluctantly agrees to hide the pup in a stall, and quickly becomes attached to the little creature.  Within days, he has grown as large as most of her horses.  They decide to train him to fly, but Hawthorne seems to be tethered to the ground and is unable to soar.

The Forsythe’s have two grown children named Noah and Rain.  Avalon catches Noah’s eye the first night he arrives.  He quickly becomes attached to her and grants her many favors, seeming to enjoy her company.  She has no idea why Jack and Camryn are so concerned that she stay away from Noah.  It is apparent that they know something they are hiding from her, and so she hides his growing attention from her new friends.  One night ends very badly, and Noah is gone the next day.  Avalon is much the wiser; unfortunately, the event has caused her to lose her powers.  

Nothing Jack does seems to help her regain her powers, but he teaches her to light fire the old way, with matches..  Charles lets her stay, for now, doing more housework and other light duty in hopes that she will recover her powers.  During this time, Jack urges her to try getting Hawthorne to fly with her on his back, and it works.  And then suddenly, Hawthorn disappears.

Things go from bad to worse, as Avalon gives in to curiosity, and finds a door at the top of a forbidden staircase.  She slips inside and finds that her Master has much to hide – forbidden items from the ancient days are throughout the room ..., and then Master Forsythe returns.  Almost - she gets away with it by hiding, and then something happens; she is discovered and damages many items, including Mr. Forsythe’s face, while she tries to escape.  She is now a fugitive.  Soon she is captured, and placed in a prison for humans.

To her amazement, Jack and Raeven rescue her.  After recovering at Raeven’s house, the three of them make plans to rescue Hawthorne, who has been captured by Miss Frost – the ruler Mage of the city.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The book is fairly well written, and I found myself easily drawn into the characters and the story.    It was easy to become involved in the world, but it did seem to take forever to develop the plot.  Plus, if you were reading carefully, the ending is quite predictable.  It is a lengthy book, but enough new material keeps popping up to keep it more enjoyable than not. 


Note:
Usually, books rated for 9 – 12 year olds hold little or no reference to the “real world”.  So I was very shocked to find more than the usual, “He found her attractive and wished to kiss her” as part of the romance, and a rather more detailed than I would like rape.  There was also several mentions of Raeven having romantic feeling for Avalon, although the affection shown was never more than sisterly. 

I personally, would not hand this to a child under the age of 13, and would discuss parts of it with my child if they were younger or more immature.

The magic involved is not “normal” magic.  Each of the Mages posseses some talent.  Avalon’s power or talent is to control fire.  Miss Frost controls ice and cold.  Jack has a talent for Healing.  Some can tell if you are lying, or cause you to see an illusion.  Mages are ranked from 1 – 10.  Avalon is a 5 – strong enough to work and hold her own in society without a problem.  Miss Frost is a 9.  Anyone beyond a 9, it is assumed would go mad trying to keep their power under control.  Some have useless powers, but as long as they have one, they are at least “not human” which means no talent of any kind and a live of slavery and imprisonment.



Genre/Theme: Post-apocalyptic, Fantasy, Coming of Age,
Reading Level: (by appropriateness)   TEEN - middle school and up – due to a few violent scenes including one of near rape  
 
Profanity: (by amount in text)  LOW - few mildly offensive words 
 
Sexuality:   SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit 
MILD - descriptions of affection/desire 
The most graphic scene involves Noah nearly raping Avalon.  
 
Other: 
For the most part – this has little or no comment about sex or violence or bad language.  But there are discussions of romantic feelings between the main female character, Avalon, and the two people she interacts with the most – one male and the other female.  There is quite a lot of violence, but it is mostly glossed over without graphic detail, although there is plenty of detail for anyone with a good imagination.  Some of the more graphic spots include, one attempted rape,  Avalon trying to escape her master after sneaking into his secret room, life in the human prison, and the final fight between Avalon and the main Mage of Frost Arch.  She also steals her pet flying fox, and the man transporting it is killed as a result.

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