Is this a Kissing Book???
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
My Review of The Frost Eater, Book 1 of the Magic Eaters Trilogy by Carol Beth Anderson… And Mistborn Book 1 by Brandon Sanderson?
Ok, with a title like that for my review, I’d better explain pretty quick, lest I lose the young Fred Savages out there.
YES. There is kissing in this book. More detailed than the likes of the young Fred being read to than the old Peter Falk might enjoy. But – in the spirit of The Princess Bride – There’s so much more – Fencing (come to think of it, might not be fencing in Frost Eater), fighting, torture, revenge, giants (no giants either), monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… and of course… MAGIC! Unlike Goldman’s retelling of S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride however, neither of these books are really any kind of satire.
Very shortly after I started listening to the Frost Eater, I was struck by a couple of similarities to Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. (I recently listened to that one too, and in a sense this is kind of my review of it as well). There are a few things that Ms. Anderson may have learned very well from the modern master of fantasy that she handles just as well as he does. Sanderson is a stickler for having “systems” of magic, and the Magic Eaters trilogy most certainly nails that. Without giving away too much of the plot – said magic eaters obtain their “fuel” for
their magical abilities by eating a physical variety of the powers that they exhibit/can call upon, not entirely unlike the Allomantic Metals of the Mistborn series, in that they can run out of fuel for example, and not every magic eater is of the same type. There were a couple of other similarities to Mistborn that struck me too: There was something that happened in the past (200 years in Magic Eaters, 1000 years in Mistborn) that in part brought about the magical society they are now involved in. Also, both books have a very well written heroine as the main character. Also, like Mistborn, each chapter begins with an excerpt from an old diary / memoir that sets the tone for each chapter. There are other similarities further in the book as well, but I don’t want to divulge them for fear of spoiling one or the other stories for the uninitiated.
Do I think this is a copy of Mistborn? No. Similar, but it’s also very much its own well thought out thing, with unique characters, unexpected plot turns, unknown back elements pulling strings we don’t yet find out fully in this book, and so forth. I DO think anyone who likes Mistborn would like this book. And vice versa.
The differences – That’s where “is this a kissing book” comes in. The main
characters – In Mistborn – Vinn is a street rat with enormous abilities she’s just discovering; Kelsier serves as her mentor – older, wiser etc. In the Frost Eater – Nora is a princess who has had life handed to her on a silver platter; Krey West serves as a much younger Kelsier, but exceedingly talented mentor with a chip on his shoulder for Nora. In my view, the differences in the main 2 characters from both of these books is what sets them apart from each other the most. Both Vinn & Nora are discovering who they are – in a surprisingly perpendicular fashion – Vinn has to live as an aristocrat, and Nora as a street rat (slight spoilers, but not much). Likewise, Both Kelsier & Krey are motivated by their love for their parted soul mate. The difference being that Krey’s is still alive & he’s determined to rescue her – which is the main driving force behind the whole plot of The Frost Eater. The Frost Eater is geared to a slightly younger audience probably as both Krey and Nora are teens, and as teens are hormonal. Ms. Anderson’s writing of the “kissing scenes” is very tastefully done however. Mr. Sanderson – There’s a very little bit of kissing, but it’s much less a part of the plot or character development, nor is it in quite as much detail. On the other side of things, Mistborn is more graphic in its depiction of violence & deaths. Both writers are great at painting a picture in your head & world building. Those who find romance off-putting might do better with Mistborn & those who find gore off-putting might do better with The Frost Eater.
Both authors also excel in their overall worldbuilding. Sanderson is well known for it. Anderson is just as good, though maybe just a little slimmer, but it’s apparent that she’s thought out the world of Enyari thoroughly & I’ll be curious to read more of the universe(s) she creates.
Other differences – Brandon Sanderson, self admittedly, writes bricks. His books are mouthfuls. As such, the cast of Mistborn is much broader than The Frost Eater, with more developed characters (in some instances) and more “weaving” of the plot than you get in a shorter book like The Frost Eater. At the same time, I feel a little more intimately connected to the characters in the Frost Eater. Maybe its because they are written from a more youthful perspective & feel just a little bit more approachable. Carol Beth Anderson is not as established as a writer as Sanderson, but I feel she has every bit the potential that He has obviously already shown with his extensive catalog of material. (Mistborn alone has over 50,000 ratings on audible – Oh what I wouldn’t give for that! And I’m sure Ms. Anderson would say the same – Good luck to her- Sanderson doesn't need luck anymore)
This was my first experience with Ms. Anderson as both an author and a narrator. I’m sold on both counts. I’m eagerly awaiting book 2 of The Magic Eaters – due out September 1st I’m told. Some authors try narration & bomb at it miserably. Her narration of her material was superb in quality, pace, characterization. I don’t think she’s narrated anyone else’s material, but she could certainly pull it off. I would both read & listen to anything she would do based on her performance in this book. As far as Mistborn’s Narration, Michael Kramer is certainly a pro & it shows. He’s got over 50,000 ratings on Mistborn alone, along with another 239 titles under his belt. I just signed on for my 28th audiobook project officially this morning, so I’m hoping I’ll get there in a few years. Good luck Carol & let me know if you ever need a male narrator if you can’t book Michael Kramer. :)
When I started this post, I really only intended on reviewing the one book… But it worked out so well, especially since I hadn’t reviewed Mistborn yet. So… The “stars” Verdict- 5 Stars all around for Both! Writing, Narration, Overall. Great books. I recommend them to anyone who loves a good fantasy novel, or just good writing in general. And in particular to anyone who has read one but not the other.
And to the young Fred Savages out there… One day you might not mind so much.