Friday, February 26, 2016

REVIEW: The Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking

The Kanin are the most powerful of the five troll tribes. However, despite her best efforts, Bryn Aven remains an outcast due to her outward appearance and mixed heritage. Nonetheless, Bryn remains dedicated toward proving herself as a tracker (bringing Changelings back to their troll families) and achieving one goal: becoming a member of the King's elite guard.

Her future plans begin to shift with the reemergence of Konstantin Black, a fallen hero turned traitor, who begins kidnapping Changelings. Determined to seek revenge for Konstantin's vicious assault on her father years before, Bryn must battle her forbidden feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden, as well as weigh her loyalties, feelings of insecurity and search for the real reason behind the disappearances.

First off, look at these covers! So gorgeous!  I'm a fan of Hocking's books.  Frostfire and the Kanin Chronicles are a spin off, related series to the previous Trylle releases. I enjoyed this first book and am definitely intrigued for the rest of the series. Bryn in an interesting character and I appreciate the dimension of her character even if I did sometimes grow frustrated with her actions. She's learning and growing so I expect that some of her irrational and whiny behavior will change over the course of the next two books.

I'm loving the palpable chemistry and tension between Bryn and Ridley. So, this series is ideal for teen readers looking for a urban fantasy filled with action, adventure, and romance. Book one ends with little resolution, so readers are going to want the next book to continue the story and find some answers.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ice Kissed is the second in the Kanin Chronicles trilogy. The Skojare queen is still missing and Bryn remains committed toward serving and protecting her kingdom and people in any way she can. The Skojare are threatened by the same enemy as the Kanin. Bryn's prolonged visit to protect the newly rescued Skojare queen and revitalize their guard is also a chance to learn more about her mixed heritage. However, something within the Skojare royalty isn't right and the shocking revelation brings tragedy to those closest to Bryn and other consequences which threaten her place within the Kanin.

I enjoyed Ice Kissed since it really does feel like an extension of the first book. There were just enough twists to peak my interest as well as the developing relationship between Bryn and Ridley. My only complaint was a small sense of predictability to the narrative but that is more due to being a zealous reader of fiction in general rather than any flaws in storytelling. Lastly, Bryn's actions and reactions still were irksome at times but she shows development toward making some more mature decisions even if she remains impulsive.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Crystal Kingdom is the final book of the series. On the run after being falsely accused of treason, Bryn finds an ally in an unlikely resource. Together they embark on a journey which reveals some startling truths while formulating a plan to thwart the hostile takeover of the Kanin crown and right the wrongs done in the name of seeking power.

This third book is a good conclusion.  Bryn comes to understand Konstantin's original motives and the big picture at the heart of all the trouble. She also matures quite a bit.  It seems in her nature to remain too impulsive but her character makes great strides toward finding balance throughout the series. The narrative is fast paced with plenty of action, romantic angst and some surprise twists.

Overall, Hocking builds a unique and engaging world throughout the series that will appeal to YA readers wanting a blend of adventure, mystery, fantasy and romance.  While the series stands on its own, I do recommend reading Hocking's Trylle series as well since readers will get a greater appreciation for the world building, troll tribe dynamics and some of the recurring secondary characters. One critique is that since I listened to these on audio, some of the transitional inconsistencies or repetitiveness in the writing was more evident.  These slight flaws do not diminish the reading experience but are noticeable throughout the span of the storytelling.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @amanda_hocking



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