Author: Greta Kelly
Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.
A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls.
And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.
The Frozen Crown is the first novel in the Warrior Witch duology. Although this novel has been on my TBR for a while, it came back on my radar after I received the ARC for the sequel, The Seventh Queen. In this duology a princess is displaced from her kingdom and must attempt to align herself and her army with another kingdom to defeat an evil emperor. On top of the war, the emperor is absorbing the magical ability of others and transferring the powers to make his army more powerful.
The world is divided into three main territories, the North, Middle, and South. Our main character is Princess of Saravesh, Askia, whose kingdom was invaded by the Roven Empire in the North. Her cousin now sits on the throne and rules under the sorcerer king of Roven, Radovan. To win the war against Roven, Askia seeks out an alliance with Emperor Armaan of Vishir in the south. Not only is Askia a warrior that fights alongside her army, she is also a witch that can see ghosts. While the central plot of the duology seems to center on the impending journey for Askia to regain control of her kingdom, most of the novel is centered on the political intrigue within Vishir.
There are a lot of elements to track in this story as Askia is subject to the traditions of Vishir, which are vastly different than those she is accustomed to. Her parents were also murdered and she was tortured on the suspicion of being a witch. As a character, Askia falls under the “not like other girls” trope, which was emphasized a bit too much in some places. She is enjoyable and strong with an interesting magic ability. There are the past traumas that Askia is dealing with on top of everything going on in the present and I enjoyed following her journey. As she has to, for the most part, hide her magic, she struggles with mastering it and is trying to learn how to wield it better.
The side characters are interesting, such as, Armaan, Ozura, Illya, and Iskander. While they may not be likable at all times, they all were great characters. Within the story there are multiple potential love interests with some more probable for the ending than others. The romance portion plays into the political elements on top of attraction and connection, so there are hints of which pair could be end game for the next novel; however, romance is not the main focus as the politics and war are at the center. Overall, the story sets itself up well for the conclusion in the sequel. There are a lot of questions for the sequel to answer, but the potential to make this an excellent duology is there!