Author: Tim Bowler
Hardcover, 328 pages
Date Published: June 19, 2008 (US pub. date)
Description (Taken from Goodreads)
A paranormal thriller from Carnegie Medal–winner Tim Bowler!
It starts with a phone call. “I’m dying,” a voice tells Dusty. Who is he and how has he gotten her cell number? Dusty wants no part of this strange boy . . . until he begins saying things that only someone who knows her intimately could say—things that lead her to think he knows the whereabouts of her brother, who disappeared over a year ago. Suddenly drawn in, Dusty very much wants to save this boy. Trouble is, she cannot find him. Part human, part spirit, he won’t let himself be found. He is too dangerous, he says. There are mobs of people who agree and who want to see this boy dead . . . and who will hurt anyone who stands in their way.
A gripping, hair-raising mystery about a boy not of this world, and a girl determined to protect him.
Frozen Fire is a very difficult book for me to sum up. There were so many different aspects of it and the overall message of the book was so different from what I had expected. The story opens with a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night. Dusty is home alone when a strange boy phones her and tells her he is dying. Some of the things he says invoke memories of Dusty’s missing brother Josh and she sets out to find him. Instead, Dusty comes face to face with a menacing man, his two sons, and their pit bulls. From there Dusty’s entire world is turned around and the boy is at the center of it.
I can’t really say too much about the plot without giving away any major details, but I will say that it was extremely well written and wrought with mystery and suspense. There are more than a few chilling scenes that may cause goosebumps and raise the hair on the back of your neck. The first few chapters are menacing in the best way possible and I was instantly hooked.
Dusty seeks the mysterious boy out because she yearns to find her brother, and in doing so, she is sucked into the mystery that is the boy. No one knows his name or where he comes from, but everywhere he goes, bad things seem to occur. There are people all over the country who wish to seek the boy out and persecute him for various crimes they cannot prove he was a part of. He appears to be some sort of paranormal being that is able to know intimate details of everyone’s lives, including Dusty’s. This boy doesn’t look normal either. The best way to describe him is almost as an ethereal being. He is pale. So pale that he is as white as the snow. His hair is the same color and his eyes are a striking pale color that people are unable to forget. He is capable of great harm, but Dusty remains unafraid.
Dusty is by far one of the strongest female characters I have ever seen. She is described as a Tomboy and she is more than willing to get into a fight, but it isn’t just her physicality that makes her strong. Emotionally, Dusty is a very strong character. She lost her brother and soon after her mother leaves. Her father is a self-described pansy, yet Dusty remains strong. She forges through life and attempts to maintain who she is. The appearance of the mysterious boy shakes up her world and Dusty is forced to summon all the strength she can muster.
Frozen Fire isn’t necessarily the paranormal thriller that it is described as, but it is an engaging, mysterious, and interesting story. There are some very slow moments that drag out descriptions of snow and the landscape, but Bowler is able to create such vivid imagery that I almost didn’t notice. There were many times when I felt like I was buried in the snow with Dusty. The visuals in the book are absolutely phenomenal and I could easily picture it throughout the book. The mystery surrounding Josh and the boy were compelling, but they were dragged on for too long. The book isn’t long, but I wanted to know what was going on. There was so much build-up throughout the novel, but the payoff didn’t come until very late on and it didn't fully answer all the questions that were presented. The ending also had me a little confused. The unanswered questions detracted from the impact potential that the ending could have had. Still, Frozen Fire was a thought-provoking read that examines so much more than just the mystery of Dusty's missing brother and a strange boy.
Opening line: “I’m dying,” said the voice. ~pg.1
Favorite line: There could be no innocence in a world without justice. ~pg. 305