A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Review: Friendship, Magic and Murder

April 8, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Review: Friendship, Magic and MurderA Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy #1
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on January 7, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

Guest review from Bec @ Readers in Wonderland (Check out her Gif Review here!)

My second guess review on Happy Indulgence and I’m happy to say this time it’s a positive review!

I picked up A Breath of Frost at exactly the right time (though I don’t know if there’s a wrong time to pick it up.) Having just started uni for the semester, I was looking for something easy to read that was also entertaining and fun. A Breath of Frost was just that, with just the right amount of plot sprinkled on top.

 “Magic and witches and secret societies and murder.”  

Regency London was the perfect setting for the magic in this story.  There are balls and dead debutants and ghosts and familiars.  It’s the witch book I’ve been wanting for a while. All of the world and the magic is developed well. Sometimes I’d be a little confused about small elements here and there (probably because I had to read it in pieces and forgot some details), but overall the plot is very easy to understand. And still surprising. I didn’t figure out the culprit’s identity until a few pages before the reveal.

Sometimes fighting petty was better than not fighting at all.”

Occasionally in historical novels the writing, while it helps put you in the time period, can drag the pace of the story down. A Breath of Frost doesn’t have this problem. Harvey’s writing is a simple style, but it flows well and keeps you reading. Plus there’s sarcasm. Sarcasm everywhere. And moments that suite my ridiculous sense of humour.

“Why does she have to hit me at all?” Cormac asked.
“I have to make it look good,” Gretchen replied primly.
“I already look good,” he drawled.

Another thing I loved about this book: the friendship between the three cousins. Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope grew up together and you could tell. Even though they all have very different personalities, they work together so well.  I was so very happy when this friendship had a lot more relevance to the plot than the romance.

Yeah, there’s romance. It started developing before the events in the books began, but it still takes it’s sweet time coming to fruition. Our love interest, Cormac, is hot and cold from one chapter to the next. It was borderline annoying, but he pulled his head in before it got too frustrating. Cormac’s lucky he’s my favourite kind of YA love interest: the witty guy who’s a bit of an arse at times but is genuinely a decent person when push comes to shove. Though I don’t know if I can forgive him for some of the cheesy lines.

I’ve been in trouble since the day I met you.”

You said some swoon worthy stuff on other chapters, mate. Why do you still come out with stuff like that?!


It’s really hard to find bad things to say about A Breath of Frost. Sometimes it was a tad confusing and the romance was cheesy at times. That’s the only faults I can give it. Everything else was great, and if you go into this hoping to find a fun magic story you’ll come out with a grin on your face.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review! 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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19 responses to “A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey Review: Friendship, Magic and Murder

  1. Chanpreet

    This book sounds great! I love that the cousins are close. I'm wondering whose love interest Cormac is. I didn't know about this book before reading this review, so thanks for introducing a new book to my tbr!

  2. danielleisbusyreading

    I thought this was a really sweet read! Loved the humor and the friendship and the romance (I'm totally a cheeseball :D) and the setting. I just wish it had been shorter! I felt like the plot dragged on too long.

  3. karawrites15

    For some reason I don't think I liked this one as much as everyone else! But I totally see why, Bec. It was really well written with some great characters. I did, though, remember I was reading this while going through a reading slump, so that's possibly why. I'm still looking forward to picking up the sequel sometime. 🙂
    My recent post Discussion: Paperback Vs. Hardcover

  4. Eugenia

    Great to see you liked this one! I really enjoyed how the worldbuilding was so enchanting in a historical setting, and the romance was a slow-burner instead of a total-insta-love sort of situation. Great review 🙂

  5. Faye M.

    Oooh, thanks for highlighting and reviewing this, Bec! I actually wanted to read this one so long ago but had forgotten about it until today. I'm happy to know that you ended up loving it because Rashika reviewed it sometime last year and absolutely loved it too. I can't wait to see the friendships formed and deepend among the cousins… that reminds me of mine where we are all close to each other 🙂

    My recent post ARC Review: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt

    • It does sounds like a really good book doesn\’t it, I\’m really glad that Bec and Rashika enjoyed it, because I know they have good taste!

  6. I loved this too. I was surprised by this one, I'm not usually a fan of historical YA books, but like you at the time it was the perfect read, and I flew through it. I loved the world building, with the balls and gowns. I've missed that in books. Can't wait to read the next one which is on my TBR! Great review.
    My recent post REVIEW – HERO by Samantha Young

    • Sounds like this one had some decent world building as you said! I\’m glad to hear that you ended up enjoying this Emma!

  7. I haven't read this one yet, Bec. But I've seen some fantastic reviews so far. I am a fan of the kind of boy Cormac is, too. Even if he can get frustrating at times.

    Great review!

    • More books need to have bonds between family, whether it\’s cousins or siblings or even parents. Thanks for your comment Nick!