Title: Frostwick (Wick #1.5)
Author: Megan Derr
Cover Artist: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press LLC
Buy Link: Amazon Genre: fantasy
Length: Short story (61 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Larissa
Review Summary: Never judge a book by its length. Frostwick might be short, but it packs a mighty punch.
To save the life of the crown prince, Starwick took a curse upon himself, but the curse leaves him in excruciating pain alleviated only by Tyrwick, the king’s bastard son and a man who has always despised Starwick. If he wants to live they must find the man who cast the curse and take back the ring he stole, but Starwick’s real challenge is not hunting a man—it is fighting his own despair, reinforced by Tyrwick’s cold disregard and his own shadowy life.
Frostwick is a story set in the world of Wick. It’s a world where people can have a special affinity with an element or a skill. When discovered they have a special affinity for example fire, wind, water or swords, charms or even a double affinity, ‘wick’ is added to their name. Apart from the affinity, they also get an animal familiar.
Frostwick follows the four stories in the book: Wick and features Starwick, the King’s shadow. To those who have read Wick this name is not unfamiliar.
The reader is immediately thrown into the story and action as it starts as the blurb says. Starwick and Tyrwick are on the hunt for the man who cast the curse and they are close when they set upon a group of Swordwicks fighting a dragon. They follow the Swordwicks home to Driaus Palace where we meet the characters featured in the previous stories and who play an important role in Frostwick. For this reason it’s recommendable to read the previous book, unless you don’t mind spoilers.
I won’t give too much away on the plot, but I can tell you it’s skillfully written for such a short story. There is a lot happening and the story is fast paced. Yet, the reader gets a good feel for the story and the world it’s set in. Nothing is hurried, but evenly paced. The characters are masterfully written. They are their own ‘persons’ with their own voices and places in the story.
Starwick is especially wonderfully done. He’s the protagonist and the voice of the story. He is a shadow for the King, but hates what he does. Rolled into job after fleeing the Academy hurt and humiliated, he believes he’s no good for anything else or anyone else for that matter. He fears getting close to other people because they might end up hurt or worse because of the job he does. At the same time he longs for such a connection where he can be himself and not what his job requires him to be.
There were times I just wanted to hug him and tell him to get his head out of his rear bumper too!
Tyrwick is a character seen through Starwick’s eyes, so the reader’s perception is influenced because of that. Starwick sees him as brutally honest, but incredibly beautiful. Because Starwick believes Tyrwick could never love or like someone like Starwick, he comes across as cold. Yet, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Tyrwick might be reserved by nature, but he has no reservation about Starwick.
What I really liked about this story was Starwick’s bond with his familiar Whisper. For an owl, he could really kick ass.
The only real downside to this story was its length. While not a terribly big complaint, as it is nicely wrapped up, it would have benefitted from a little extension on the beginning and the end. There were a few minor typos or grammatical errors, but nothing bothersome.
While it’s up to you to pick up this story or not, Frostwick is definitely a story I can recommend. It has equal parts angst, adventure and action. Even after reading it three times, it doesn’t disappoint.