Followed by Frost
by Charlie N. Holmberg
Seventeen-year-old Smitha's wealth, status, and beauty make her the envy of her town—until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha's desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?
Reviewed by Coll :)
My rating: 3.5 Coffee Cups!!
Let me start off by saying this is more a fairy tale than fantasy. Think of it as a young adult/adult fairy tale mixed with Aesop’s Fable-type lessons. Smitha is a young girl who is very self-aware of her beauty and intelligence and sees herself as utterly perfect. She adores herself more than anyone or anything else and is constantly judging others whom she sees as not as beautiful, or in her mind not as blessed, as she is. When she rejects the wrong person she is cursed to be as cold as her heart is and is followed by frost and snow wherever she goes. Smitha becomes hated and hunted and has lost the pleasure of ever knowing the touch of another human, for whatever she touches freezes.
When I started the book I was not immediately impressed with the writing style because it comes off rather over-dramatic and unrealistic at times, however as the book progresses the writing does improve. I also felt that not as much attention was given to the beginning of the story as was to the rest of it. It seemed almost like Holmberg knew where she wanted to go eventually but did not know quite how to get there so she used the first few chapters as just a means to reach the heart of the story. The feeling that a lot was being glossed over at the outset made this book a little slow-moving at first hard to get into at first and I did struggle a bit in the beginning.
A few chapters in, as the plot becomes more developed, the book begins to pick up speed and becomes more detailed. It was at this point that I felt myself being pulled into the story. As a reader, you watch Smitha grow and change and witness how these changes begin to affect her and the world around her. The characters are developed beautifully and there is such a level of detail in the story that it was so easy for me to visualize everything I was reading. One of the things I found most unique was how Holmberg portrayed Death in a way that was so out of the ordinary from what we would normally think of. This lends an originality to the story while keeping Death, in this unorthodox form, just as eerie and dangerous as the Death we have grown to fear. Before I knew it I found myself drawn to characters I at first thought I would not care about and hoping for the best where I originally hoped otherwise. From the second I finished this book I was torn on what to rate it. If it were not for the feeling of disconnect between the first few chapters and the rest of the book I would have given it a higher rating but I just could not get past my feelings for the beginning of the book.
"Winter is the dearest friend to those who have chosen to be cold."
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