Sometimes it's hard to write about a book loved enough to rate five stars. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I often pick up a fantasy read when I want a release from life and other reading choices. This one was so well done and drew me into the tale so quickly that I knew it would be outstanding.
Having read a few Russian folklore and/or fairy tales previously, a number of the the mythical characters were not new but the way the author developed the story, the conflict, the relationships, and the terror that gripped characters throughout was fascinating. Depicting the crowd mentality against the heroine was indicative of what has happened throughout history (Hitler and the Nazis) and is more recently seen in other political situations.
The heroine is beautiful, strong and brave as heroines should be. Her own magical abilities enable her to cope with death and chaos. Of course, she has help but rather than explain what happens I will focus on the beauty of this book. The author writes flawlessly linking one incident to another without pause. I found I could not put the book down as the story unfurled. I loved her brother, her father, Frost as forbidding as he could be, and detested the bear who thrives on fear and brings fire. It's a magically enthralling read. If one likes fantasy blended with love, conflict, bravery, and adventure this is a read for you.