Blaine McFadden killed the man who raped his sister. Rather than being sentenced to death, the King exiles him to the far northern penal colony of Edgeland, a frozen, barren wasteland that just happens to have important resources the King needs. Making what life he can throughout the years, under the watchful and oppressive eyes of the governor and his mages, Blaine and the friends he has bonded with survive in the harshest of conditions. When the essential supply ships stop coming from Donderath, the colony wonders how they will survive. Then magic starts to fail and in one night of a terrible storm, it vanishes altogether. No word from Donderath, no magic to help them survive, Blaine decides that he has to take matters into his own hands to find out what has happened and return to the Kingdom that exiled him.
Something I have come to expect from Gail Z. Martin is her clarity of writing. Her prose is easy to read and understand, yet she can lay out a scene detailed enough for you to imagine being there or watching it on a screen. Ice Forged is no exception, from the first page that clarity was there and I was drawn right into the story.
As with the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle, we have an ensemble cast which is something I love, but it was also nice to get a look at the core of Blaine and what happened to him before he met the others. And I do love the others a lot! They are all very individual characters, each distinct, and I’m glad to say I didn’t feel any echo of characters from the other series. Not that it would have been a bad thing, as I loved them too but here we have a fresh crew to entertain us. There is perhaps one similarity which I won’t spell out for fear of spoiling, but again, it felt different enough that I wasn’t constantly reminded.
The plot is really well done with a few horrific twists. I have to say one huge event was a brave thing to do, and in this book there are also hints of what might be coming, but I can’t honestly say for sure that I know what will happen. I couldn’t put it down and loved it to the end. I say this a lot but I can’t wait for the next book, I NEED to know!
I felt the pace was really well judged, there was no time to get bored, and even when there wasn’t much action happening, there was always something to keep my attention; then when the action eventually hits, it really explodes.
Ice Forged is hugely entertaining and has a classic fantasy feel to it which delighted me. The characters gave me much the same feeling as I get from reading Eddings, Gemmell and Brooks.