Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review: Ice Forged

Ice Forged (Ascendant Kingdoms #1) by Gail Z. Martin

Title: Ice Forged
Series: Ascendant Kingdoms, #1
Author: Gail Z. Martin
Published: Orbit; 2013
592 pages, kindle edition
Source: Netgalley
 Description (from Goodreads):

Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine "Mick" McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor's mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead...

My Thoughts:
4.5 stars

Ice Forged I was expecting some sort of epic fantasy, journey-type story with a big dash of adventure and some hot guy added in for luck. Whatever I was thinking, it couldn't have prepare me for what I got - it was so freakin' awesome!! There was sooo much more to it then I would have expected. Not only was it genuinely intriguing in its plotline, but it drew me in with the gorgeous characters, suspenseful mystery, kickass battle scenes, creative magical systems, medieval politics and mysterious vampires. It had everything, and more, than I could of possibly hoped for.

The writing was brilliant as well.
Gail Z. Martin writes with beautiful imagery that manages to stay true to the time of which the book is set, yet remain entertaining. I loved the way she could make even the icy wildness of Edgeland's Long Dark seem appealing. The way she subtly includes the lingo of the society that the characters live in is simply fantastic. It really makes you feel as if you are there, right there in Edgeland, with the characters themselves.

All of the characters were nailed perfectly. I was awed by the effortless way that the author manages to build up them up straight from the beginning of the book. I came to love every single one of them, all for different reasons. The way that every character had a rich and detailed backstory made them seem so much more alive. I also enjoyed the fact that no romance was attempted between Blaine and Kestrel. It was nice for a change to have such a close male/female friendship without any sort of sexual tension or hinted romantic connections. They were simply friends there to support each other when needed and they knew each other so well that it was touching. Their relationship was a personal favourite of mine. I have to add that I have dibs on Pirin though. He was gorgeous! I loved his and Kestrel's banter and the playful relationship between him and the other guys.

The plot was full on. There wasn't a second that something wasn't happening. Suspense and mystery filled every page. The new magical system introduced was unlike any I had read before and I was intrigued throughout the whole book to learn more about it. I was very shocked to find vampires in this sort of book, and at times it didn't really work for me. Their introduction was too rushed for my liking. I think the author was going for a bit of a shock tactic when Connor went to Penhallow's place and he bit him - thus introducing us to the vampire aspect, but I found it a little too sudden and random. Also they just didn't seem to fit into the story as well as they should have. The vampire battle scenes were exciting and action-packed though, so I can excuse the rushed introduction pretty easily.

In the end I was pleasantly surprised by
Ice Forged and will happily be looking out for the rest of the series, as well as Gail Z. Martin's other works.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Gail Z. Martin and Orbit, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

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