Ice Will Reveal by Julia Dvorin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an intriguing fantasy novel of destiny, intrigue and what it means to be chosen ... and if that all sounds a bit familiar, the story makes it into a strength. Fantasy readers are intimately acquainted with these ideas, and "Ice Will Reveal" does an excellent job both in examining them and in playing off our expectations. This is a book that takes familiar ground and makes it new. The use of religion is also particularly vivid - we're left wondering, just as the characters might be, which face of the Goddess is true? Has she intervened? Is there a plan? There are two characters developed throughout the book whose apparent role is suddenly and abruptly turned on its heel, and it's powerful both times.
As a writer, I particularly appreciate when multiple perspectives are used not just to show us what more than one character is thinking, but to foreshadow and increase tension by giving us knowledge one character or the other doesn't have ... and Ice Will Reveal does this beautifully with only a handful of scenes.
The two main characters are nicely balanced - one serious and faithful, the other cynical and clever. It's particularly interesting to see them through each other's eyes.
As an aside, not the author's fault, I think, but the book is littered with typographical errors in the use of italics. Some thoughts are italicized, others aren't, entire paragraphs that are clearly not character thought end up in italics ... the proofing in this book is otherwise clean, though.
Ultimately, I struggled with the star rating on this book because it is definitely a Book One in a series. There is an ending - which I was pretty confident for the last seventy pages or so wasn't going to be at all possible - but it feels shoehorned in and truncated solely to make sure that this was a standalone volume (and even at that, it really isn't). I definitely want to read the next book, but this was handled badly both as a traditional fantasy to-be-continued and a finished-story-arc.
It's a shame, because I really have no other complaints. If you love traditional fantasy and want a thoughtful, unusual exploration of some of its core tropes, pick this one up.
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