Snow Leopards. A Vampire Court. Were-folk. Magic. Amazon-esque archer women. Tree people. Intensely awesome dialogue.
The above list should be enough, but I suppose it isn’t. All the same, just from that, does this not seem ideal for those readers who cling to the ever-dying light given off by true grand novels?
The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill begins in the company of a young princess with fire in her soul and eyes who is just starting to understand life outside the boundaries of her beloved capital, Frostmarris. But when the threat of war becomes real and her legendary father must fight for the defense, Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-arm Lindenshield finds herself having to make good of shaky alliances suggested with the ancient and wonderful beasts of the hidden lands of the Icemark. 14-years old, she brings her new friend Oskan Witch’s Son and her aging tutor to the Hypolitan city, reigned over by an elite society of warrior women. After a council of war, Oskan and Thirrin set out to the Vampire and Were-folk courts and learn of the incredible creatures hidden at the Hub of the World. The massive, elegant, and beautiful Snow Leopards, who happen to be beyond explanation of cool. Thirrin must use every bit of her gifts of diplomacy and her bearing as the monarch of Icemark to gain respect among creatures that have warred with her kind for years. The sharp wit and mind-numbing efforts made in the bitter winters of the North finally come to a head in an unforgettable confrontation against the greatest force on earth in the form of the Polypontus Empire.
This is probably one of my new favorite books. I had looked at it with a sense of foreboding on my shelf, feeling inclined to spend my afternoon and evening reading the volumes I had already started and not the 500-page novel gone untouched. But when I did make the effort and the first chapter was about werewolves I knew there was no hope for those books previously begun. The characters were brilliant and yet flawed, relying on each other for friendship. Every deal struck had dizzying consequences if it should go wrong and every battle would decide the fate of the Icemark. Whip-quick dialogue and a complete understanding of the dark and wild setting furthered the sheer epic-ness of this powerful book. I think you can already guess this rating.
No? It’s a 7 out of 7 of whatever the poll decides so go vote and then read this book. + There’s a sequel!