Ice Forged: Book One of the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga

Gail Z. Martin. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (592p) ISBN 978-0-316-09358-3
Gallant young nobleman Blaine McFadden, convicted of murder and immured in Donderath's frigid penal colony of Velant, leads a revolt to escape the control of the homeland. With the “long dark" coming and Donderath conquered in war, derring-do and the need for independence are in the air. Unfortunately, conniving magicians have used the war to disrupt the traditional patterns of magic, and chaos looms. Martin uses these plot elements to paint an overcrowded mosaic, full of scarcely distinguishable characters discussing events to death with an inflated dialogue-to-action ratio. The interminable conversations may be setting the ground for a sequel, but their function of filling in background and foreshadowing developments soon leaves the reader longing for the mute heroics of Conan the Barbarian. The travails of Blaine provide a unifying if hackneyed thread: the exiled prince returning home. But unlike, say, Aragorn, he gains neither stature nor depth as events progress, merely developing a confusion of identity. Even feuding factions of vampires fail to enliven this dragging tale. Some vivid scenes and Blaine's indecisive quest fail to offset the ennui of endless, repetitious dialogue. Martin's first task in the sequel should be to dispatch a trusty hero, armed with a battle axe, to lop off conversation. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 03/30/2015
Release date: 01/01/2013
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-21539-8
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