by Stuart Hill
Published: April 1 2009
Add it: Goodreads | Buy it: Indiebound
The Icemark is a kingdom in grave danger. Its king has been killed in battle, its enemy lies in wait, and its fate rests on the shoulders of one girl. Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield, a beautiful princess and an intrepid warrior, must find a way to protect her land from a terrible invasion. She will forge an extraordinary alliance of noble Snow Leopards, ancient Vampires, and ferocious Wolf-folk. She will find unexpected strength in her friendship with a young warlock. And she will lead her allies to victory with her fierce battle cry: "Blood! Blast! And Fire!"
Welcome all to our discussion of August's read, The Cry of the Icemark. I, Nicole, have acted as Keeper Of The Book for this month and can forewarn you of much hatred for the poor Icemark. (To be fair, it is well-deserved.)
Sya: So, Cry of the Icemark. I thought I should disclose that I returned this title to the library in disgust after reading about five pages. Was absolutely NOT FOR ME. I didn't like the protagonists name, or her character. Although Steph tells me that there's a kitten that lives in a beard so I'm sorry I missed that. This probably won't stop me from taking part in the discussion. Mainly I'll just pop in to set you against each other and cause controversy.
Donna: The name Primplepuss makes me twitch every time I read it. I'm still interested in the story but I haven't had much reading time as of yet. I'm only on page 34-ish.
Nicole: I'm still on page 22, the same page I've been for three years. I'm going to finish it on Sunday. Hopefully.
Donna: I have a 5 hour plane ride. Fingers crossed. The names are atrocious though. And I really hope Therrin's personality improves because she's a bit of a snatch.
Melissa: I'm on chapter three... and I'm kinda thinking that this guy uses too many words.
Angie: I'm sorry. PRIMPLEPUSS?!!
Donna: It's a terrible name. It makes me want to step on the kitten just to alleviate it of its pain. And the MC isn't really improving. I'm closing in on 200 pages and she's still a bit of an arrogant ass. Except I think it's more the author forcing things on me. Like royal protocol and whatnot and it's making his characters look shitty.
Laura: I confess that I haven't started reading it. I did buy a beautiful hardback copy off Better World Books for THREE WHOLE DOLLARS and if it turns out sucky, at least I can feel good about giving the school library a nice copy. I'm in a reading slump. Like this never happens and I am TOTALLY IN A SLUMP. I just haven't had the desire to read and anything I've tried reading has tasted like cardboard. I've made it 3/4 of the way through Gunmetal Magic, Angie- it's very "Hrmmmmm....." and not at all what I was hoping for.
Nicole: So I kept reading it and I'm about ninety pages in and I realized why I probably kept putting it down: 1) Thirrin is annoying as hell, but I can kind of forgive her because she doesn't know any other kind of life. 2) ALL OF THE TELLING AND NONE OF THE SHOWING. But I still like the plot so Imma keep reading.
Donna: Samsies. Thirrin makes me want to beat her with a shovel and the author just needs to STFU and let the characters be themselves. Although I do have fundamental issues mixing supernatural with fantasy. Like a pair of pants that's a size too small: yeah, it fits but it's not very comfortable. It's high fantasy and we're dealing with werewolves (which aren't too bad) and I'm coming up on vampires. It's odd.
Nicole: I got to the vampires a few minutes ago; there's a really weird mix of mythology (Odin and vampires and high fantasy and talking animals) but it's working out in a way that I don't mind. Thirrin is growing on me -- while I wouldn't want to be friends with her, I admire her as a character.
Donna: I'm having a hard time with her age. I'm trying to get around it as a societal thing and it's somewhat normal within the book's world but I have a really hard time accepting that grown men will follow a thirteen-year-old girl into battle, regardless of how well-versed in fighting she is. I just don't believe she can be THAT good at it and it's a stopping point for me.
Nicole: I'm willing for a suspense of disbelief on that case, partly because Thirrin is HBIC enough that I want it to work. I'm assuming she has her advisors and stuff as well -- because we're seeing it through her POV, it might not JUST be her they're following. Plus culture and schtuff.
Nicole: Head bitch in charge.
Laura: The two of you are making me want to NOT READ THIS BOOK. I've heard nothing positive...only excuses and bandaids for writing boo-boos.
Donna: Attempt it. You'll know within pages.
Sya:I knew within half a page. Seriously. Actually, I think I had a good idea from the very first sentence. It might be a great story, but it certainly wasn't up my street.
Donna: I'm starting to travel down a sketchy alley.
Nicole: I like the plot, but the writing is a little off. I don't DISLIKE it. It's just not GREAT.
Laura: WAY TO PICK A FAIL BOOK NICOLE.
Laura: YOU MADE SYA CRY....maybe.
Nicole: GAVE YOU OTHER OPTIONS. YOU ALL VOTED. Besides, bad books are more fun to talk about in groups.
Melissa: Re Thirrin's Age: What Donna said.
Nicole: I just finished the book; it's much better if you pretend Thirrin is 18 the entire time.
Angie: I admire your collective ability to soldier through. Carry on! Don't mind me. I'll just be over here reading something good.
Nicole: I liked it! For the most part. It had its issues, but it was far from terrible.
Donna: hirrin's a petulant little shit. So far both the vampires and the snow leopards are supposed to he amused by "bravery" and her ability to stand up for herself. Personally I think it's just an excusefor her to act like a total douche. The author just needs to STFU and let the story tell itself. All the characters sound the same, Thirrin's full name is said FAR too many times and the world-building infodumps are grating on me. Is it terrible? No. But I wish someone else that didn't insist on being so heavy-handed wrote it.
Donna: I don't know if I'll finish it. Since it was just hard for me to stay awake while reading, and I'm on my lunch at work, and I kind of bemoan reading it, signs are pointing to no. Nicole is right; if you pretend Thirrin is 18 it makes the story better. Unfortunately I don't believe in making my own head movies from the book I'm reading because the author screwed it up. I have my own stories I write to fill that void. The shit that's already written? I don't want to rewrite it.
Melissa: I bailed. Gave it 50 pages, and decided there's better fantasy out there, and I just don't have the time to read second-rate stuff.
Laura: I will donate my copy to the library, so that some good will come of this but I really don't want to read it based on what is being said here. You are all very good girls for completing the assignment though and as a reward, I hereby declare that everything you eat tonight will contain NO calories.
Nicole: Laura, by my standards, nothing contains calories. SCREW SOCIETY I DO WHAT I WANT. At least nobody wanting to read this month makes blogging easier!
Donna: I just can't do it, captain. I don't have the power. I'm tapping out. I have other books I need to get through before I pack them all up and haul them across the country.
Nicole: Details, Donn-er, give me details!
Donna: Details on what? I just can't take it anymore.
Nicole: *laughs* I figured that, but is it because of Thirrin's age? Her character? The information dumps? The tell-don't-show writing style? Or all of the above?
Donna: Nicole, everything that I've mentioned. It's become such a bog to read. I think authorial voice is number one. He just couldn't let the story tell itself.
After that the conversation derailed into talks about John Green and Finnikin of the Rock. There's no sense in doing a summary of who voted what on this one; three-quarters of the YAckers dropped out of reading it, and as far as I can tell only Donna and I finished it -- Donna hated it and I, Nicole, am meh on it. Good plot, crappy everything else.
YAckers The Cry of the Icemark Reviews, if any:
Nicole's review at WORD for Teens (tk!)
Melissa's review at Book Nut