Most CERTAINTLY Contains Spoilers
I enjoyed The Ice Dragon – until the end. Considering the amount of death and mayhem in The Game of Thrones, I should have expected some unpleasantness in this book, but because it’s being marketed to MG readers, I was caught by surprise. True to life, the children in George R R Martin’s stories aren’t immune from the turmoil of war, and Adara learns first hand that opposing forces make no distinction between non-combatants and enemy soldiers.
Adara was born in the winter, and her mother died giving birth to her. She is a cold and distant child, and she would rather be building her ice castles in the winter, by herself, than playing with other children. She hates the summer, for that’s the time that the ice dragon is gone. Through the years, she and the ice dragon have formed a bond. Adara rides on its frigid back, exhilarating in the rush of cold air around her and the steady beat of the ice dragon’s wings. It’s her dearest secret, because nobody believes that they still exist.
Her kingdom has been at war since before she was born, but when the enemy’s army marches ever closer to her father’s farm, her uncle, a soldier and fire dragon rider, pleads for them to flee to safety in the south. Her father refuses to leave the land that’s been in the family for generations. Adara is happy that they won’t be leaving, and she’s determined to stay in the north with her ice dragon no matter what her father decides.
Then, the year that she’s seven, the army breaks and retreats south, urging everyone in their path to flee. The enemy soldiers and their dragons are burning everything, with no regard for life. Her father begs his brother to take the children with him on his dragon, but both man and beast are injured. It’s then decided that only Adara is small enough to be flown to safety, and the rest of the family will follow behind. Adara runs off, refusing to leave. While she’s hiding in the woods, the enemy dragon riders come and start destroying everything. Adara and her actions have put her family in horrible danger, and only the ice dragon can help her save them.
I hated the ending! I feel like I was blindsided, and I wasn’t expecting it. I think the emotionless narrative added to my dismay. Adara is not demonstrative of her feelings, so when her uncle Hal and his dragon Brimstone meet their fiery fate, I think I was more upset than Adara. I guess it’s apt that the PR text on the cover of the book make mention of A Feast For Crows, another book that left me shocked and dismayed. I agree that The Ice Dragon is nothing like AGoT, but it’s not a book I would feel comfortable giving to some of my younger acquaintances because of the battle scene at the end, and the depressing (for me!) end of the ice dragon. UGH!
Review copy purchased from Amazon
The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child–and the ice dragon who loved her–could save her world from utter destruction.
The Ice Dragon marks the highly anticipated children’s book debut of George R.R. Martin, the award-winning author of the New York Times best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire and is set in the same world. Illustrated with lush, exquisitely detailed pencil drawings by acclaimed artist Yvonne Gilbert, The Ice Dragon is an unforgettable tale of courage, love, and sacrifice by one of the most honored fantasists of all time.