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48
3.9 out of 5 stars
Ice Forged: Book 1 of the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I pretty much needed to have a break from fantasy novels a long time ago. I'd absorbed stories from the greats, the not-so-greats and the simply mediocre, and I'd followed heroes of varying races, sexes and abilities as they trudged through dangers and battled foes. There was always a neat map of the world I was experiencing and, if I was unlucky, a glossary and history to go with it.

Gail Z Martin's book 'Ice Forged' is the first new fantasy novel I've read in a long time. Luckily for me, it was an absorbing and entertaining read and I didn't have to stop reading every five minutes to refer to a map or seek out a translation in a glossary.

From the blurb:

'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...'

Blaine is a pretty good antagonist and you get a feel for the character almost straight away - a no-nonsense, fists-first man who is very sure of himself and his abilities. At first I was concerned he was going to be a hero with shining white teeth who can't do wrong but as the story unfolds and you get to know him and the people he's teamed up with you begin to see him as a complex but decent man. His fellows are also interesting (if a little underdeveloped but that's not an issue, to be fair) and it makes for a good group you'd like to see go on a quest or two.

The first part of the book is a lot of world building but there seems to be a lot of portentous doom-laden prophecising going on about something bad coming, and then when something a bit bad does happen then there's a bit more talking about it. There's a moment where I found myself thinking 'just get on with it!' and I simply wanted the book to get to it's point. Nevertheless the world building is very good and the characters are given time to grow which gives you time to get to know them, but there is a point where I feel I know enough about the people to want to see the story put their talents and personalities to use. Luckily, the book shifted up a gear just when I started to get worried that the story wasn't going anywhere.

Once the disaster hits and the world starts to change (it has a post-apocalyptic feel to it, as the world is thrown into chaos) the heroes finally get their quest on which is a good thing, but just as the story starts to heat up and the action starts to flow, the book just kind of... stops. There's a good reason to want to continue with the second book, that's for sure, but I was expecting a better climax, or at least a shock revelation or twist that would leave you waiting with baited breath for the next installment. Sadly, you don't really get a satisfactory ending in that vein and you feel like that you've not been left on a cliffhanger, just that you've been left hanging.

Ice Forged is a very good book with some very well-defined characters and an intriguing plot that, if you give it time and don't expect it to leap out at you immediately, really delivers. The ending might feel a little flat after putting effort into getting to the end - and it is more than 500 pages long - but with the promise of another book to follow there's no reason to dismiss this volume at all.

Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I found this book when I was hunting around on my kindle for something new to read. I have been a long time fan of Gail Z Martins work and decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I did. It was a great book. The characters are all great and seem very real and most of them are likeable. The scenery and the imagery that is created is just fantastic, its not too over the top to make it unbelievable which some fantasy/fiction writers tend to do. It is set at a good pace and it is one of those books that kept me up to the early hours of the morning as I just wanted to read one more chapter. Any book that does that is brilliant in my eyes. If you are a fan of Martins other work then give this a go. It is the start of a very good series and I cannot wait to read the next book, I just hope it doesn't take too long.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
This is a well written and exciting start to a different new saga, which I really enjoyed. I thought the introduction of vampires not entirely fitting for the overall story-line but maybe there is more to come that will change my mind about that
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When Blaine finds out what his father has done to his sister, its a step too far. He runs out and looses his temper. He ends up killing him, which most people think is no harm, but still a murder is a murder. The king goes lenient on Blaine though and instead of killing him he sends him to Velant. Its a prison where once you go you never come back from.

Blaine has tried to make the most of his time in the frigid wastelands of Velant but when the supply ships suddenly stop coming it doesn't bode well for them nor the other kingdoms. What is happening and what will become of them now no one will bring them supplies?

The first thing that grabbed me was the cover of Ice Forged. Its very eye catching!! Then when I read the blurb I was intrigued!

Blaine was such an awesome character. Strong, sure, kind and honest. He is destined to marry a beautiful girl he loves but when his father steps too far out of line Blaine looses it. He has put up with his father all his life but now enough is enough. On the way to the prison he decides that Blaine McFadden is dead and thats when Mick is born. No ones needed to know he was a lord. He has survived the first 6 years of the prison and is now allowed to have his "freedom" in Edgeland. Most people turn to him when they want something sorted because he is level headed.

The setting of Ice Forged swaps between Blaine in Edgeland and Connor in Donderath. Edgeland is the worst place to live, but then again it is a prison. Its cold, barren and harsh. The prisoners try to have some semblance of life while trying to forget that their life isn't their own. Its brutal and more so when they have to eek out a living with no help from outside. Then Blaine has to try to restore the magic to their world when it stops and try to survive to war that's happening. Donderath meanwhile, is facing a coming war. Connor is tasked with finding a mysterious map using a magical pendant. When the war knocks on his door, he has no choice but to board a boat leaving Donderath. The only place that seems to have escaped the was is Edgeland, so when Connor finds himself in the one place he never thought he would see, both worlds collide.

Its been a while since I read a good high fantasy and Im glad I got back into it with Ice Forged. At times I got a little bogged down with what I thought were inconsequential things but everything came together nicely. Everything happens for a reason!! It was fast paced enough to keep me turning the pages. It had plenty of action and surprises. With gritty characters and strong leads Ice Forge is a very strong start to what promises to be a great series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2013
Was not sure I was going to enjoy new book from Gail Z Martin, but she didn't disappoint. I'm not really good at writing reviews, just reading books. so to keep it short and sweet.
I loved it! loved the plot, characters and the way the book switched from one set of character's story to the next. Feels more grown up, grittier and real,this maybe to do with the setting.
Could have read this within two days but had to go to work so finished within 3/4 days and hopefully wont have to wait too long for the 2nd book.
If your a fan of this writer it's definitely worth buying.
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on 14 August 2013
Ice Forged was a book that took some time for me to get through. It wasn't because it wasn't enjoyable, it was a brilliant piece of a bigger upcoming story, but it just seemed to take some time to advance through those pages. I have no regrets buying it however.

What I liked about Ice Forged was the way that straight away we were thrown into something that got our blood boiling, and already getting a feel for the Main Character, Blaine's character. This of course, was the event of why he was sent to Velant, and what a great opening it was.

As the story progresses through the first few chapters, you also gain some insight and familiarity with the other various characters who Blaine gets to know, as well as the second Main Character, Connor, who we switch to and from throughout the book.

Gail Z. Martin has written an intriguing story about not only the harsh effects war can cause, but the daily struggle for survival that some people face within their lives. A fantastic fantasy piece that keeps you caught in the depths of the writing as skirmishes and mysteries unfold, as well as life and death situations.

To me, Ice Forged might have been slow going, but my interest never waned once. It's worth the buy for those of you who enjoy fantasy adventure stories, as well as magic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2014
The idea behind this story was good with the penal colony and fight for survival. However, I found the characters had no depth and the style of writing is poor I gave up half way through
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on 6 April 2014
I thought the beginning was interesting especially when explaining what had happened to Blaine, the main character. The idea of a prison in some God-forsaken wasteland and how the people had found the wherewithal to make the best of the worst circumstances was fascinating. The political machinations were believable and the characters were fairly likeable.

The book dragged in some parts and I found the interminable explanations and discussions littered throughout the book exasperating. The use of language was also occasionally perplexing, for example, ‘We’ve got a situation topside’ as stated by a captain sounds like a modern-day military person giving orders to his men.

The book has vampires which is unusual in fantasy. I am not sure whether this juxtaposition works in the book (and in fantasy, in general) even if the vampires are divided in the ‘not so bad’ and ‘very bad’ ones. I am unable to work out whether my aversion to vampires in in this book is because I am not a fan of the vampire/horror genre or because I just don't like vampires.

Having said all the above, the book did keep my interest. I want to know what happens next and will consider purchasing the next instalment. Who knows, the 2nd book may allow me to come to terms with the vampires.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2014
I was really looking forward to this book, having read all of the Chronicles of the Necromancer and The Sworn series. However, I was quite disappointed - the idea behind the book was good (hence two stars), but the plot was unfolding very slowly. The characters were not as well presented as in the other books and I could not relate to them. I made three attempts but eventually left the book unfinished. Then again, it must not deter others from reading - it might just be me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2013
Great plot original, good read, finished it in a day but have a voracious appetite and a sjort attention span so nuffsaid!
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