A too-young queen must learn to control her powers in order to save her empire, but can she trust the only person who’s taught her to use her gift?
Russalka is a proud empire, frozen and vast, protected for centuries by a royal family who works miracles from the saints. But rebellion stirs in the streets, and its war-hungry neighbors threaten to invade. The young princess Katza has been tormented by visions of her bloodied hands destroying Russalka—a clear message from the saints that she must never rule. So when tragedy places her next in line to the throne, Katza fears their warnings are on the verge of coming true.
Then she meets Ravin, a mysterious young prophet with visions of his own: visions of Katza as a regal empress with unimaginable power. All she has to do seize upon the holy magic of her bloodline. But the more Ravin whispers in her ear, the more Katza begins to wonder whether he has her best interests at heart. With a revolution boiling over and war looming at the border, the greatest threat to Russalka may be Katza herself.
Web of Frost is the first book in the Saints of Russalka series by Lindsay Smith and as soon as I read the summary, I knew I wanted to get my hands on this book. I ended up having mixed feelings about this one and it may be because the books I love typically include characters that have me fully invested in them, but I wasn’t really a fan of anyone in this story. With that said, the story itself was interesting and kept me turning the pages.
This story is centered on a young princess who becomes a queen who is fully unprepared to lead her country. Having grown up as the younger daughter, Katza was never expected to lead and because of a vision she continues to have, she is afraid to use her magic to help. When she meets a young prophet named Ravin who has a questionable reputation, she begins to trust in her powers and question the rules.
Katza was so wishy washy from the start that I just didn’t know what to think about her. And then once she started spending time with Ravin and embracing her power in conjunction with leading the empire, she was someone completely different. While I suppose it was growth, it just felt like she was trying to be someone she wasn’t really comfortable with and it was really only because Ravin was nudging her to do it, not because she thought she could.
I found Ravin to be interesting. While he definitely had ulterior motives, he was the only one who encouraged Katza to embrace her role and he power that comes along with her bloodline. I can’t say I liked him or what he was trying to get her to do, but it was his storyline that kept me turning the pages as I wanted to know what he was up to and why.
I thought the story itself had a lot of promise and I loved that it had a Russian feel to it. As the empire faces a rebellion from the very people it is there to protect, Katza has to figure out how to quell the anger as well as keep her strength and power through her reign. She definitely has to make some concessions and it will be interesting to see where Smith takes the rest of the story.
As I mentioned, I am on the fence with this book due to the characters, but I am thinking it was because I couldn’t connect with any of them. I might check out the next book to see what happens next but I’m not sure yet…we’ll have to see.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the copy in exchange for an honest review.