Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blade of Fire by Stuart Hill

Please note this is the second book of the Icemark Trilogy. If you have not read the first book in this series, The Cry of the Icemark, do not read the following review as it will contain spoilers. Instead take a look at my review of The Cry of the Icemark.

The Blade of Fire is the second book of the Icemark Triology by Stuart Hill. Set almost twenty years after the events in The Cry of the Icemark, Bellorum is back ready to finish what he started all those years ago. Queen Thirrin and her consort Oskan Witchfather and their children must work together to defeat their enemy. Old allies return such as the Snow Leopards and Werewolves to help to drive back the evil general and his sons. However Bellorum has learnt not to underestimate his enemy and has come prepared. With Thirrin's youngest son escaping with refugees to the Southern Continent and her youngest daughter struggling to choose between good and evil can Thirrin and her friends fight such a mighty foe and win?

Usually I am wary of the second book of any trilogy. Experience has taught me that the second book pales in comparison to the first, either acting as a poor filler to get you to the third book or is the result of the author having poured all their energy and ideas into the first book. I remember being particularly disappointed with Terry Goodkind's Stone of Tears for example. However Stuart Hill manages to escape the curse of the second book. Blade of Fire is just as good as The Cry of Icemark. The characters are so beautifully portrayed and adventure seeps from every chapter. The lovable characters from the first book return to entertain amongst brand new characters like Prince Charlemagne, Princess Cressida and the Tharina of the Snow Leopards. Even Medea, who is one of the darker elements to the book, is skillfully portrayed. Family rivalry, revenge, love and friendship is all accurately depicted.

It's hard to find fault with the book. There is just enough description to sate you but not enough to overwhelm you and loose the plot. The clever idea of moving some of the action away to new and vaguely recognisable lands helps the book move away from being an echo of the first book. However having read this book I do question whether this series is really a trilogy as all loose ends seem to be wrapped up by the end of the book. Perhaps we will have to wait and see.

Another incredibly enjoyable book from Stuart Hill

*4 stars*

1 comment:

HMSaph said...

I also loved this book.