Inspired by Frost


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels [here] and [here].

Inspired by Frost was written by Alicia Rades and first published in 2016. It is the third instalment of the Crystal Frost series and follows on directly where Fire in Frost (2015) and Desire in Frost (2016) left off, so I’d strongly advise that you checked out the previous books before picking up this one. The series follows the continuing adventures of a teenage psychic as she tries to use her powers to help those around her.

While shopping for a dress for her mother’s wedding, Crystal suddenly encounters the spirit of a teenage girl who identifies herself as Melissa. Unlike the other spirits that she’s encountered, Melissa isn’t interested in naming her killer. Instead, Melissa begs Crystal to help Sage – a girl who is destined to die on the day of the wedding. There is only one problem. Crystal has no idea who Sage is.

Although Crystal quickly identifies the girl in question, she doesn’t know how she can use her powers to help her. While she can sense that Sage is afraid of something, she has no way of accurately predicting how the teenager is going to die. Yet Crystal knows that she can’t just abandon Sage to her fate and tries to befriend her, hoping that in doing so she can uncover some kind of clue.

As Crystal spends more time with Sage, she learns of a darkness in the girl’s past. The horrible events of her childhood still haunt her and the young psychic realises this could be connected to the thing threatens her life. Yet this puts Crystal in a very difficult position. There is no way that she can tell Sage the truth without revealing secrets of her own. And her mother always warned her to be careful who she told about her powers…

Let’s start with the serious stuff (and note that this does constitute a small spoiler). Inspired by Frost contains themes that some readers may find upsetting. Like the first novel in this series, it raises some very serious issues that affect teenagers – primarily child abuse and depression. Although the story is entirely non-graphic, it does heavily imply the abuse that Sage has suffered and so you may want to avoid this story if you’re sensitive to such things.

Yet I must say that I felt that Rades handled this serious subject matter incredibly well. Over the course of the story, Crystal slowly came to understand just how fortune she is. While her family has been touched by tragedy, she has the constant support of a loving mother and loyal friends. Through Sage, she slowly learns that not everyone is so lucky. Although Sage’s trauma happened years previously, she has never recovered and has grown very good at hiding her suffering. While Inspired by Frost isn’t always an easy read, it is a fair representation of how serious depression can be.

While I didn’t enjoy this novel quite as much as the previous instalments of the series, I did still think that it was very well written. It was longer than Desire in Frost and took a few chapters to find its feet, yet the story rapidly gained momentum in its second half. The mystery elements of the plot were, once again, very well handled. As the clues towards Sage’s identity started to be revealed, I found that the novel became very hard to put down and I devoured it in only a couple of sittings. The twist this time was hidden in plain sight and Rades skilfully peppered clues towards it throughout her novel, many of which only really became obvious in hindsight. Of the three novels so far, this one certainly had the most interesting plot.

However, I did notice that there was a fair bit of repetition in the story this time around. While I did mention this in my review of Desire in Frost, I don’t remember it being quite so heavy handed in previous books. It was particularly noticeable towards the end of Inspired by Frost, where Crystal fell in a habit of explaining the plot over and over to characters who were not present in key scenes. The reader would witness an exchange between Crystal and Sage, only for Crystal to relate the same events to her mother or Emma a chapter later. From a reader’s perspective, this was a bit frustrating as I was forced to read through important pieces of information numerous times. This is purely personal preference but this was just a little too expository for my liking.

I also felt that there was a lack of character development. As this is the third book of a series, I would have expected the characterisation to feel more solid by this point. There have been two novels for concepts to be introduced and characters to carve their identities. Yet, once again, the primary focus is on how Crystal handles her growing powers (and the internal struggle as she both resists them and wishes they were stronger). However, in this novel her development appears to have taken a backwards step. By the end of Desire in Frost, Crystal had learned to trust in her abilities yet now she seems to be riddled in self-doubt once more. It’s starting to seem like every novel Crystal has a crisis of confidence and is forced to discover herself all over again.

Her friends also still don’t play very heavily in the plot. While the previous story brought Robin into the mix, his relationship with Crystal doesn’t get much page time in this story beyond the occasional kiss. Emma and Derek are also still very much background characters. While the early chapters did seem to be raising a subplot about Derek’s biological parents, this was quickly pushed aside in favour of Sage’s mystery and resolved somewhat clumsily in the final chapter.

While I am still a fan of the Crystal Frost series, I have to admit that I found this to be the least satisfying of Rades’s novels. I did find the plot to be well written and enjoyable but I would have liked to have seen more character development for Crystal and her friends. Yet I will certainly read the next book to see if things pick up. I’m very curious to see where Crystal’s adventures will take her next.

Inspired by Frost can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook from

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