It’s been a while since I’ve posted an audiobook review, because I got caught up in a new series. When that happens, I usually end up listening to all of the books straight through. This time, it was The Kanin Chronicles by Amanda Hocking. This series includes Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom. In it, Bryn Aven, a troll who tracks changelings in human society, witnesses the attempted murder of her father. She vows to track down the criminal and seek revenge, but this leads her down a slippery slope.
Here’s the official synopsis for Frostfire from Amazon.com:
Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society. Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider–a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank. But she’s determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves. Her dream is to become a member of the King’s elite guard, and she’s not going to let anything stand in her way…not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden. A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can’t fight her attraction to him. And she’s beginning to think he feels it too. Meanwhile, there’s an attack on the kingdom–one that will test Bryn’s strength like never before. Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago. It’s up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again. But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn’t accept her for who she really is? And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart?
To avoid spoilers, I won’t share anything about the two sequels, but I will say that Bryn travels into different areas of the troll “world”, which is embedded in pockets of the human world. Hocking did a good job creating unique characteristics for each troll race, which helps generate much needed tension.
As for character development, Bryn was likeable and mostly believable. She’s very hard-nosed, sticking strictly to the rules, but there were times when I was thinking, “Really? She still isn’t giving up on that?” Sometimes her tendency to stick to the rules drowned out her intelligence in a slightly unbelievable way.
I’m a sucker for forbidden romance and there’s plenty with Ridley and Bryn, which is one reason why I enjoyed listening to this series. Ridley is instantly likeable, even when another girl is in the picture, and I couldn’t help but picture Jamie Dornan in Sheriff Graham form (ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”). I also really like the allure of Konstantin. It’s instantly clear that he has a backstory and Hocking only reveals a little bit at a time, which is just enough to keep you reading.
Eileen Stevens was the narrator of all three books. I honestly wasn’t too thrilled with her performance, which is one reason why I’m not giving this audiobook series a full 4 stars. The men she voiced sounded alike and didn’t really reflect the book descriptions. There were also times where it sounded like she had to re-record specific words and you could often hear her swallowing. It just wasn’t the best quality recording.
Still, this was an enjoyable audiobook series and is a good choice for anyone who likes Young Adult Fantasy novels.