Review: Frostborn by Lou Anders

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Title: Frostborn
Author: Lou Anders
Genre: fantasy, middle grade
Series: Thrones and Bones #1
Pages: 352
Source: I received this book at Book Expo America in consideration for review
Rating: 3/5

Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

Frostborn, the first in a new series by veteran of the publishing world Lou Anders, was an unexpected and happy surprise. It hadn't been on my radar until a friend (who knows my obsession with dragons) saw it at BEA and grabbed me a copy. I am forever thankful to Lyn for that because without her kindness, I would have missed a fantastical, fun adventure with two memorable and well-drawn middle grade protagonists. The slower start, the worldbuilding, and the engaging  characters all added up to an entertaining read.

I am a sucker for anything fantasy, especially one with dragons, but Anders has a lot to offer here. The worldbuilding is somewhat slighter and less substantial than I would have liked to see but more than enough to frame the world that Karn and Thianna live in. The countries, empires, and cultures they each inhabit or experience are original, but also have obvious callbacks to real-world history. The inspiration for this world further serves to help envision both the lives of the two main characters.

Karn is a more than adequate character for several reasons, but it is Thianna that stole the show for me. A child of mixed heritage and ostracized because of that fact, it's easy to connect her character arc to reality. Her struggles for acceptance and happiness are real, and easily felt through her anger, bitterness, and her humanity. But for all that, Thianna is a rounded girl. She is smart, kind, and able to not only defend herself, but save others. Give me more middle grade girls like this, please. Her coming of age story is just as pivotal as that of the male character and it is so so refreshing to read.

While I didn't love this the way I do my middle grade favorites, I found myself enjoying my time spent with these characters. The beginning suffers from a slower pace, but things rapidly become more and more actiontastic as the story goes on. It's more than worth a few chapters and patience. It's a lighthearted kids' adventure, but Anders strikes a good balance between tension, humor, and characterization.


  1. Good to know! The cover looks beautiful but I'm just iffy on the entire thing.

  2. Middle grade is always hit and miss for me but I'd love to read a fantasy book based around Norse mythology! Sounds like it would be worth a library visit :) The cover is so great.


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