Book Review: Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin

Ice ForgedIce Forged
Gail Z. Martin
Orbit, January 2013
ISBN 978-0-316-09358-3
Trade Paperback

Edgeland is a penal colony across the seas from the Medieval kingdom of Dondareth. Only the worst—and those with powerful enemies—are sent to this prison on the frozen edge of nowhere. And so Blaine “Mick” McFadden, guilty of killing his father who richly deserved to die, is sent there to serve out the rest of his life. However, in a twist, convicts who survive for three years—and not many do—are allowed to become homesteaders and to better their position. Against all odds, Blaine does survive and together with fellow convicts and friends Piran, Dawe, Verran, and Kestel,making some sort of life for himself. The penal colony depends on ships from Dondareth to bring supplies, but then, in the midst of erupting volcanoes and horrendous storms, the magic that has sustained the planet runs wild. Magicians are destroyed, leaders, including the king are killed, and no one knows what to do. And now it’s up to Blaine and his friends to get back to Dondareth and rein in the remaining magic before all of humanity expires.

Gail Martin has built a wonderful fantasy world in this, the first book of a new series dubbed The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Her writing and plotting is excellent. The characters, including a sect of vampires that are some of the good guys, will draw you into their world and not let go. Blaine especially, appeals. Kestal is a favorite, as is Piran. Connor, who shows up in the story as Dondareth begins its fall, also manages his part in a strong way. I’m already looking forward to the next installment in this series.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, December 2012.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.