Frostborn (Thrones and Bones #1) by Lou Anders
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Karn is the son of a great family, meant to take over his father's prosperous. However, Karn doesn't want a farmer's life, opting instead to hone his skills playing the board game Thrones and Bones.
Thianna is a half human, half frost giantess. When a group of humans riding wyvern dragons arrive at her home searching for the only thing her mother left her, Thianna is forced to flee the only home she has ever known.
The twos lives become intertwined when Karn is forced to flee as well after confronting a long dead warrior. Survival is harder than it looks though when you are being chased by a 1,500 year-old dragon, undead warriors and his minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, trolls, and backstabbing giants.
This story felt like an amalgamation of The Hobbit, Dungeons & Dragons, and Game of Thrones. For kids, of course. There is a lot going on in this story and a very big world that felt a little too big at times. Not that it wasn't interesting, but sometimes it felt like too much was being squeezed into such a small book. I enjoyed the board game aspect, where, like chess used to be, everyone who is anyone knows how to play. The careful description of the game became important, for Karn may not be the best at understanding how many cows should be exchanged for corn, he does understand strategy. Thianna is more of a hit first ask questions later, but she too begins to appreciate the beauty and strategy of Thrones and Bones.
The beginning of the book was a bit slow as the author was doing a whole lot of world building in a novel geared towards middle grade readers. It was necessary world building, but it also meant the story didn't get started until around the fifty page mark. I am used to this in adult books, seeing some stories not begin until page hundred or more. Personally, I prefer stories that get going right away and Frostborn tries to do this with a short action-packed prequel, but it didn't feel like enough. That one point aside, once the story really gets going, it was quite the adventure. Thianna was a bit prickly in the beginning, but I really fell in love with her and Karn, despite being a bit dense does eventually "get it".
A great fantasy for those kids who love the genre, dragons, or just a good adventure.