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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Ice Forged: Book 1 of the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga
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on 11 March 2017
Love these books. You must start at the beginning, however this one stands alone well. The characters are not related to the last book but I find myself wondering if any names will crop up and link them. Don't expect conclusion in one book!! Gail.Z.M likes to lead you onto the next book!! Great raw action, good ideas for baddies and motives ( oh and resolution!!) we are on the journey and enduring the hardship from the word go! I'm really enjoying them. Lots of hacking with swords though , so brace yourself!!
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on 15 September 2017
good book
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on 27 February 2013
bought this book on a preview, fantastic, read it twice already, cant wait for the next one. I recommend this1
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on 18 August 2013
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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on 29 February 2016
I love a good epic fantasy, and this is an excellent start to just such a series. Blaine is sentenced right at the beginning of the story, and takes on the name Mick to hide from the past and give himself a new start. The story covers his long journey on the ship full of other convicts to Velant, where the winters are long, harsh, and with virtually no daylight. However the story is equally focussed on a young man (whose name I can't find just now, it's a while since I've read this one!) who lives in the capital city of Dondareth, Blaine's homeland. He is the aide to someone on the ruling castle and through him you see some of the events that cause the supply ships to stop going to the colonists.

As the reader, seeing both viewpoints, you get a much clearer view of what's going on than the characters and that made it frustrating sometimes to see one group discussing a course of action based on what they knew, when to me it was clear that they should be taking a different path. This is particularly relevant nearer the end, when one group of characters knows that a bad thing will happen if someone does a certain thing, and the other group, unable to talk to them, decides to do that thing. It actually added a lot more tension to the story, having the collective knowledge which the characters lacked, and knowing they were walking into danger when they were unaware of it.

There is a slight supernatural element to the story, which I wasn't expecting. It caught me completely by surprise when it was revealed. I'm still not sure why it was necessary to bring in but I'll hold my judgement until I've read the second book.

Overall I'm giving Gail Z. Martin's 'Ice Forged' 7 out of 10. I'm planning on picking up book 2 next time I'm home and can raid my parents' bookshelves.
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on 15 February 2013
Hoped this was the completion of last saga but disapponted and found it really slow going.Where is the ending to the last one ?
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on 17 January 2013
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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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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on 23 May 2014
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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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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