_Cavern of Black Ice_ by J.V. Jones

January 24, 2011 at 12:38 am | Posted in Book Review | Leave a comment

I apologize for the lateness of this entry. Friday sneaked up and passed me before I realized it. Sorry. On to the entry.

A Cavern of Black Ice by J.V. Jones is the first book of a new fantasy trilogy called “Sword of Shadows.” The author’s writing is impressive about a fantasy world with dark edges and deep themes. The book is full of interesting characters, a good plot and different magic system.

Characters in the book are well-developed with powerful conflicts. Raif Severance belongs to a clan of people in the North. He is horrified by a terrible event his clan commits, leaving him an outcast from clan and family. Asharia (Ash) is a foundling orphan frightened by physical changes of her body and the motives of her foster father. She struggles to be free of him and her awakening power. The villains in this book have motivations for their evil and are not cardboard characters.

The realistic characters help a good plot move along quickly. It starts out in the far North with the men of the Blackhail Clan on a hunt. Raif Severance and his brother are off fooling around. When they return to the camp, they find their father and everyone else dead. On returning to the clan hold, they discover another member survived the attack. Raif doesn’t trust or like this clan member. Things move from there. Ashe’s story is told separately until she teams up with Raif and his uncle.

Ms. Jones has created an intriguing magic system for this book. Magic has a price to the user, often embarassing and weakening. People can fight against the magic if they know what is happening to them. Ash is the inheritor of the even stranger magic of being a Reach. Another group of people, the Sul, have their own magic that I hope will be explored in the next book.

A Cavern of Black Ice is not to be missed. Many plot ends are left open to intrigue the reader waiting for the next book. Hopefully the author will explore some other cultures like the Sul in the forthcoming books. If you like serious fantasy with a dark edge, read this book. You won’t be disappointed.


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