mildmaythecat: (Default)
I'll get out of the Teen section for the next review, shaddup:



The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill.

One-Sentence Review If You're Pressed For Time (Or Just Lazy): Fascinating worldbuilding and terrific characters, including a kickass female lead, make for a brilliant opening to a brilliant trilogy (don't panic--it's standalone if you prefer).

Why It's Awesome: First, meet our warrior princess protagonist Thirrin. She punches a werewolf in the nose in the first chapter and is ruling a country at war not long after. Did I mention she's thirteen? Yeah. You want a badass female main character, you've come to the right place. She needs to learn to be a ruler, a general and a diplomat at a very young age and within a very short timespan, and manages without falling into Mary-Sue territory.

Actually, you'll end up falling in love with pretty much every character. Thirrin's father is every inch the booming warrior king and keeps his kitten, Primplepuss, nearby. Oskan is a young warlock who's lived in a cave most of his life--think a less socially clueless Castiel. The Vampire King and Queen are an ancient married couple as skilled with verbal barbs as with drinking the blood of their enemies (don't let the mention of vampires scare you off; these guys are awesome, trust me). And then there are Snow Leopards and werewolves and of course other humans, all with their own motives and equally fun personalities.

The worldbuilding sucks you in as well. Thirrin's country, the titular Icemark, is a mashup of Viking-era Norway, Scotland and wherever the hell winter is coming to in Game of Thrones. Their enemy is the Polypontian Empire, an ancient Rome-esque country of soldiers and technological progress which sneaks some steampunk in there if you squint. The vampires live in their grim castles, the Snow Leopards in their palaces across the icy tundra, and the werewolves live a nomadic but primarily cave-dwelling lifestyle.

The plot moves and does so at a good pace, humor and action are both written really well, and you can really lose yourself in the world the author has created. And along with being a perfectly good novel in and of itself, COTI is the first in a pretty damn awesome trilogy (which doesn't hesitate to kill characters off, so avoid later books if you're especially attached to anyone).

Okay, Fine, Here's The Downside: Scipio Bellorum isn't really anything special as a villain. He's ice-cold and emotionless unless someone really pisses him off, killing officers who fail him without blinking. He's a military genius and prefers the finer things in life, with no apparent motive other than conquering as many places as possible. I feel like I've seen this character before, but he plays his role just fine and definitely succeeds in making you fear for the heroes, so it works out alright.

And Now For Something Completely Different:
Patience (Low Roar)
get out of my mind...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p94iVjZyYnM (live version); http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu_0NBgq5CA (studio version)

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mildmaythecat

October 2016

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