Frost by Kate Avery Ellison
(The Frost Chronicles #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone.
After monsters kill her parents, Lia must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.
She saves his life.
Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.
But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.
Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
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I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I'm not writing, I'm usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he's eating.
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She appeared out of the shadows suddenly. Her cheeks were bitten red with cold and her long dark hair was wet with melting ice. She stumbled, grabbed my hands. Her mittens were missing. “Hurry,” she breathed, tugging at me. “Quickly.”
“Ivy Augusta Weaver,” I hissed, torn between joyful relief and flickering anger. “It’s almost night time. There is a storm coming. What were you thinking? Where have you been?”
“There is a boy,” she panted, ignoring my scolding. “In the woods.”
But she was already plunging deeper into the forest, and I had no choice but to follow her, a new worry filling my mind and replacing the short-lived relief I’d felt. A boy in the woods? Who had gotten himself lost in the woods at a time like this? One of the farmers’ sons, perhaps?
We were the last farm in the Frost. There was nothing beyond us to the north but the Empty, and to the south there was only the Farther World. What was anybody doing at the edge of that?
Ivy and I continued into the forest. We ducked around branches and scrambled over icy roots. The shadows were thick, and they painted our cloaks a deep indigo.
Ivy reached a giant rock at the mouth of a clearing and stopped. “There,” she said, pointing with a trembling hand.
You must be strong, Lia. My mother’s voice rang in my head. I remembered her wind-weathered face, her chapped hands gripping mine, her earnest eyes as they scoured my face for weakness. There could be no weakness here in the Frost, where we clung to life between the mountains as desperately as a drowning man clings to a stone.
“He’s not one of ours,” I said, turning to her with sudden fierceness. “Ivy...”
“He’s hurt,” she said.
“Don’t you understand?”
She just looked at me. I drew in a deep breath.
“That is a Farther.”
Ivy’s eyes widened a fraction at my harsh words. The wind blew between us, spraying ice against our faces. She blinked. I didn’t.
Of course she knew what that was—every person in our village knew who the Farthers were, even those who’d never caught a glimpse of them across the river. We barely ever spoke of them, but they inhabited everyone’s nightmares all the same.
I nodded curtly.
Ivy struggled to understand what I was implying. “But he’s hurt,” she managed, as if that was the only concern. “And it’s getting dark.”
“We must protect ourselves,” I said.
Ivy swallowed hard.
I glared at her. “No.”
She looked back at the figure lying in the snow. I glanced at the sky again, trying to calculate how much time we had left before the sun sunk completely behind the trees, and we were no longer safe from the things that prowled in the darkness. The Watchers never moved across our yards or around the town perimeter during the sunlight hours, but some had reported seeing them during the narrow span of twilight that joined the day and the night, and it was rumored that they wandered freely in the deep of the forests even during the day.
The wind howled through the trees and tugged at my cloak. Snow fell sideways.
“But he’s hurt,” Ivy whispered again, breaking into my thoughts.
I closed my eyes briefly. My sister was the kind of person who brought home baby birds who’d fallen from their nests and raccoons with thorns in their paws. But we couldn’t simply take a Farther and bandage him up like a lost puppy. “The Elders say—”
“I know they’re dangerous. I know what the Elders say.” Ivy’s voice was as brittle as ice. “But are you telling me you’re going to leave him out here to die? After what happened to Ma and Da?”
I bit my lip so hard I tasted blood. Ivy looked at me with her big brown eyes and the fear in my gut snarled. What would the villagers say? This is dangerous, my mind screamed at me. This will endanger the family!
The figure in the snow stirred. “Please,” he whispered, his voice just a hiss.
I stepped to his side, crouching down to touch his face. His eyes opened a crack, and then...
He looked at me.
I felt hollowed out and filled up again as our gazes collided—mine and this Farther from beyond the edge of my world—and then his eyes shut as he passed out again, and I was released from the spell of them. I stepped back quickly, but the damage was already done. There was already an ache in my chest from the knowledge of what we were about to do.