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Blade of Fire (Chronicles of Icemark) (Icemark Chronicles) Hardcover – 4 Sep 2006
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About the Author
Stuart Hill was born in Leicester, in the East Midlands, where he still lives. He has worked as a car trimmer, a cemetery gardener, a teacher, archaeologist and bookseller. He now writes full-time. The Cry of the Icemark was his first novel for children.
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It makes a very interesting read. The characters are as funny as ever, although Thirrin is definitely showing signs of strain from being both Queen and a mother. Oskan's supernatural powers have developed tremendously. He has to watch when he uses them. It's a good thing they've grown, considering how one of the royal children, Medea (anyone else thinking of the Medea of Ancient Greeks who sought revenge on Jason?) is an evil little madam. That is putting it mildly for a girl who spends the entire novel trying to kill her siblings. I enjoyed having one of the villains be part of the royal family - it made quite a change from unrelated villains who usually feature in books. Jealousy is not an emotion to be trifled with.
The dark side of Medea is countered by her other siblings. There's the eldest, who is set to be queen when her parents die. I felt sorry for Cressida: she makes a good crown princess, but sometimes she tries too hard. It's something she regrets when a tragedy hits the family. The twins Eodrac and Cerdric, are hilarious with their antics and attitude.
Then there's Sharley, who is really the centre of the story. Although he recovered from a childhood illness, he's left with a slightly dodgy leg. As a result, he's not encouraged to become a fighter - in the eyes of court he's too weak. Frustration is at the forefront of Sharley's mind. He hates watching his siblings do all the things that he can't. This touched my heart: Sharley's character couldn't have been written any better. The confused emotions he feels are realistic, especially when he's sent off to exile so he can be safe from the invasion. Named IceMark's acting regent helps boost his confidence a little, a confidence which surprises his family when he returns at the end of the novel.
The story evolves around Thirrin and her family fighting Scipio and his family. New allies are made, each child has their own point of view which is delved into on a regular basis. This second installment is choc full of new wonders, starkingly different environments and cultures. Stuart Hill shines with how he weaves these elements into the story which focuses on characters and the environment equally. The vivid descriptions take the reader away to a wonderful world, not unlike our own.
I groaned every time I put the book down. Make sure a box of tissues is nearby, someone in Thirrin's family dies. There's a little coarse language, but no swearing that I can remember. It's violent in places, but then this is a war story.
True to form, Hill's battle scenes are spectacular, gripping events and Scipio Bellorum's cool arrogance is certain to get the even the most Rome-loving readers fired up. Much like the last book, there is a strong theme of solidarity, friendship and hopeless resistance; indeed what i enjoy most about the book are the darkest moments when all seems lost, even hope, but where the characters are prepared to die in glory and not to give up and face the inevitable.
I am so impressed by such a sensational author whose gloriously assured writing has not only captured my imagination, but which will take the children's book world by storm. You have to read it to believe it ~ literally! Amid the fast-paced, action-packed adventure is a colorful world captured so perfectly that it is brought very realistically to life in such a compelling way. As an avid reader of fantasy fiction, I have to say that I am stunned by Icemark series and so could not recommend it more nor praise it highly enough, as a brilliant book for children/ Young Adults.
This is a piece of fiction which will also introduce new readers to the world of fantasy, catapulting them into a creation filled with wondrous delights that stretch the imagination...if a book can do this, then it is a winner!
Twenty years have passed since the tiny kingdom of the Icemark last defended itself from invasion. Now the imperial invader Scipio Bellorum is back - joined by his brutal twin sons. The Icemark's fate rests with Queen Thirrin and Oskan Witchfinder and their five strong-willed children. But not all the royal siblings are ready for the task. What of Medea, the dark daughter, poisoning the family from within? Or Sharley, the youngest and weakest son, strangely foretold to travel far away, and return with a blade of fire? The second book in the Icemark Chronicles takes the fight to the seas, the skies, the hot lands to the south - and even beyond, to the places of the mind.
Feel the heat of battle!
With Vampires and Werewolves, magic both mystical and of the mind. With formidable, imposing ships that sail across the vast Oceans to the scorching desert with a blade wreathed in flame...what more could you want?!
Stuart Hill though a new author I rate alongside Feist, GRRM Martin, Paolini and JV Jones.
I now hope there is a third book, please Mr Hill
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