Okay, this is my first book review in a while, and is in truth an interval as I am reading a book for an author. The Cry Of the Icemark (TCOTI) is a book I first borrowed from the library a number of years ago. Since then, I have bought the book that I may read it again, which probably tells you something of how much I enjoyed it! But anyway, I hope you enjoy the review as I get myself back into blogging.
TCOTI is the story of Thirrin Lindenshield, who becomes the young Queen of the Icemark kingdom following the death of her father in the first moves of an invasion into their lands. The Empire of the Polypontus holds the most ruthless army in the land, led by the General Bellorum and his sons. The Icemark is a small region in the coldest part of the land, for it lies under snow for most of the year. Thirrin knows that her small army cannot hope to repel the Empire and the vicious Bellorum, and she knows that she must find allies. Who can she turn to in her hour of need. In a time of need, Thirrin will look to the most unlikely of allies. The talking leopards of the north, the vampires and the savage werewolves. And perhaps, just perhaps, the magic of the White Witch’s son.
As a small (early teens) boy, the plot of this book captivated me, and it has lost none of its effect. The book stands around 500 pages, and it isn’t a quick read. There is enough time for the plot to twist and turn like a rollercoaster, and boy it does. It think something that compelled me to keep reading it late into the night was that I didn’t know what was going to happen, it truly was unpredictable, and to me that’s very important in a book. I never enjoy a book quite so much if I’m finding guessing after because it’s following too simple a formula. Not so here. Stuart Hill’s book is set apart in how it flows in some manner. Another going that really got to me about the book its that it’s not just a happy ending; I really felt that tragedy was happening, the depth of Hill’s writing is deep and enthralling.
Something that really interests me in reading is character development. I think it’s a key theme in this book. The idea of a child monarch isn’t something new in literature and fantasy, but it’s something that can either be a very successful formula or very drab. If said child monarch doesn’t develop and change as a result of their challenges as the king or queen – well, it just isn’t right! Queen Thirrin does a remarkable job out making mistakes, picking up on them and learning, growing through experience. I find her a very interesting character, though she isn’t my favourite. That would be Oskan, the warlock boy. There’s something different about him that I haven’t found in other characters, even in other books. Without sounding like a dripping fangirl, he’s dark, mysterious and you can never really tell how dangerous he is until he brings himself out though. Even in the darkest of books, you’ve got to have some humour as balance, and it is delivered righteously. The way the Wolf and Leopard kinds bounce off of each other is hilarious, something that adds an element of lightheartedness to the book, and one much needed.
The Cry Of The Icemark is a book I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve read it. I think Stuart Hill is an excellent writer and be had a unique style, refreshing but also serious, which gives a tone to the book I haven’t come across before. TCOTI is well worth a read, more than one in fact; and seeing as it’s the first of a trilogy, it’s something you can really get into.
TCOTI gets an 8/10 from me, and that ain’t bad at all!