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Ice Forged

(Ascendant Kingdoms #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,736 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine "Mick" McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor's mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dond ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Ice Forged is an entertaining but flawed fantasy/post-apocalyptic hybrid that dazzles in its depiction of the frozen waste of Edgeland and its prisoners/colonists but undergoes a disappointing evolution near the end that results in a very forgettable conclusion.

The story itself centers on a young nobleman, Blaine McFadden, who succumbs to righteous anger and slays his abusive father. The King of Donderath shows mercy to young Blaine by banishing him to
Michael Fierce
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of A Game of Thrones, High fantasy, and snow & ice :)
Shelves: fantasy, won-gr


I won an ARC of Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin in November 2012, right here on Goodreads! -- *And so you know, all opinions are completely my own and Big Mike receives no compensations of any type for this review.

This book's cover art grabbed me immediately while skimming through the many GR book giveaways!

Fantasy. Ice. Hyborean looking hero. And the fiery lettering of Ice Forged emblazoned on the cover was enough to pique my interest.

First off, this is the sort of story that, while not defined a
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I've long been curious about Ice Forged. Though I also own The Summoner from her Chronicles of the Necromancer series, for some reason I just knew I wanted this one to be my first Gail Z. Martin book. They're both stories set in high fantasy worlds, but lands of ice and snow have always fascinated me, I don't know why. Maybe because I think these harsh settings are often fertile ground for exceptional protagonists, driven
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Want it in a nutshell? Prisoners in a Russian gulag find out that the world they were forced to leave has been all but destroyed. And despite having been sent to the ends of the earth for their crimes against the kingdom, and putting in hard time in horrible conditions, they are a bit more reluctant to leave the life they have been able to forge in this land. Lead by a noble who gave up his name when forced out of his old life it may be up to them to keep the world from falling in on itself. For ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
From Read Now section on NetGalley.
I've been reading this for days. It wasn't really gripping so I forgot to add it on reading list. Every few days I'd take a peak and I managed to finish it. Even now I am not sure what to think of it.
Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this, but the story never held my attention the way I thought it would. So take this with a grain of salt. It is possible that it is better than it seems.
I am planning to read it again in the future just to be fair.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
There's a voice in my head that tells me that any Martin that also uses their initials must be related to George. I imagine that Gail and George could be having writer type conversations at family meet-ups, swapping plot ideas and congratulating each other for another book they enjoyed. Sadly, it seems this is only in my mind, I couldn't find any evidence at all of a familial connection. However, there are plenty of other connections apparent here. For a start, they both write successful epic fa ...more
Ranting Dragon
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dan

Ice Forged is the seventh novel by American author Gail Z. Martin, and her first one to take place outside of the Winter Kingdoms, the world of the Fallen Kings Cycle and the Chronicles of the Necromancer. It tells the story of a young man’s quest to stay alive in a world turned to chaos. Blaine “Mick” McFadden finds himself struggling to restore order in the face of warlords, assassins, criminals and the threat of an invading army.

A new world and a new st
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels, fantasy
I grabbed this book on sale for the Kindle and I have more than mixed feelings about it.
It's not terrible but the character building isn't that great and the plot is full of holes ( especially the part with Vampires, it really felt like they are in the story because the author likes them).
All in all I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about this book but here is a quick summary of the story :
- The hero( Blaine/Mick) gets condemned for the murder of his father( who deserved it) and sent t
Chris Hawks
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, review-copies
I've picked up a number of books through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program over the years. Some have been phenomenal, and some have been pretty good, but a lot of them have been pretty mediocre, if not downright bad. So when I signed up for a chance to win a copy of Gail Z. Martin's upcoming novel, I had my fingers crossed: all I really wanted was an enjoyable, competently-written fantasy from an established author at a well-known publisher.

Ice Forged delivered exactly that.

The basic premis
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
After killing his father, Lord Blaine McFadden is stripped of his title and sent to the harsh penal colony of Velant in the far north. Six years later, “Mick” has earned the rights of a colonist and has made a comfortable life for himself. However, war has broken out in the home country of Donderath, and the colony soon finds itself cut off from home, as well as the magic that pervades nearly all aspects of daily life.

Ice Forged has a very rushed and weak start. The prologue is good example of w
Althea Ann
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was my first book by Gail Z. Martin. From the cover (I’m not really sure why) I was expecting something a bit more military-SF flavored. Nope. This is straight-up fantasy, and I’d recommend it for anyone in the mood for a big, chunky, entertaining but not-too-demanding tale in the genre.

We’re introduced to a Scottish-tinged land, a feudal realm dependent on magic. Blaine McFadden is heir to a manor, but his father’s atrocities finally drive him to kill the man. This action gets him exiled t
Douglas Meeks
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
First off, from some reviews I think people have not read much epic fantasy, first it is usually a trilogy, the descriptions are detailed and the "pacing" is slow but steady. (UPDATE: This will actually be 4 books I found out)

This is a great beginning to a epic trilogy that this story will become (I am making a easy assumption it will not end in 2 books). I find Blain to be a great hero and his group are exceptional for this story.

It is slow in some places but we are building a world here that i
Benjamin Kohler
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from a Goodreads Giveaway.

I enjoyed this book. Being the first in (a trilogy?), I was left...unsatisfied.
The beginning of this story was very good. The characters were introduced and I was happy with them. And then in a flurry of activity there were a bunch of vampires, and the author seemed to rush through the ending. I almost wonder if he had a deadline he had to make. Furthermore, the ending was too much cliffhanger, not enough resolution.

I probably t
rachel ☾
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, fantasy, adult-lit
4.5 stars

• This defied all of my expectations.
• It drew me in with its gorgeous characters, suspenseful mystery, kickass battle scenes, creative magical system, and intriguing politics.
• Martin writes with beautiful imagery.
• The characterisation was wonderful. I came to love every single one of them.
• The lack of romance was refreshing, especially when there was such a prominent m/f friendship.
• I have never read anything like this before - with its combination of magic and politics - and it
The Shayne-Train
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
What happens when the magic dies?

This is the question that comes up in this immediately captivating fantasy novel. A very interesting and polished magic system goes awry due to the fantasy equivalent of a World War. The populace has been taking the little touches of magic that make their lives easier for granted, and now discover the world is a much harsher place.

The dialog is snappy, the insights into the characters are entertaining. I am SO reading the next book in the series. And SOON.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: adulthood
Ice Forged was a quality epic fantasy. I enjoy Gail Z. Martin quite a bit. I loved Chronicles of the Necromancer. I didn't feel quite the connection to these characters that I felt to Tris or Kira or JonMarc, but enough to keep me interested until the end.

If I don't get to the second book in the series for a while, that will be ok, but I will eventually read it.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
it's actually 4/2 stars. maybe 4 3/4... really good, I look forward the next one. ...more
Darren Hagan
I think I'm gonna say maybe 3.25 stars? I'm a bit conflicted. The book itself wasn't bad but it wasn't amazing.

I enjoyed the prologue, but then chapter 1 was 6 years later and it took me a while to get into it from there. Then the pacing just seemed all over the place so sometimes I'd want to read it but others it'd feel like a drag. One chapter would be about 15 pages, then the next would be about 40 pages and not moving very fast.

The characters were okay but I didn't particularly connect to an
C. S.
DNF. I'm not sure if it's me, the MC, the story, or the narrator, but I'm just not feeling it. ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this, great start to another series from Gail Martin. The characters were great, yes it was kind of predictable in some places but that didnt take away my enjoyment. A great basic fantasy series that I know I will go on to finish.
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just finished reading The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga by Gail Z. Martin. I’m not entirely sure what to say other than I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down.

This is a four book fantasy series (first book: Ice Forged) about a group of convicts who ultimately find themselves responsible for restoring a kingdom destroyed by the collapse of magic. Sent away to prison for various crimes, this group of convicts soon finds that being exiled to Velant was the only thing that saved their life when ma
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I snagged Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin when it was a Kindle daily deal and decided it would a be good time to try out Amazon’s Whispersync Voice. Ice Forged is a strange mash-up of genres that peaked my interest when I saw Gail Martin’s guest post about the novel over at Fantasy Book Critic. In her article Martin discusses the genesis of her novel and the notion that Ice Forged takes the premise of an apocalyptic novel and transposes it from its modern setting to a medieval fantasy world. In Ice ...more
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I received this book from Goodreads First Reads program, and it was unexpectedly personalized and signed, which was very nice! I really wanted to love this book, and I read the reviews from a few other winners who were big fans, and, to employ a cliche, I think there's a really compelling story in there. However, it just didn't do it for me. This is the story of Mick, a young nobleman's son who killed his abusive father and was sent to a penal colony in the northern wastes of the kingdom to mine ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Sometimes you just want to go to the fair and eat funnel cake. Neither the fair nor the funnel cake are going to change your life in any way, but they can be good while they last. This is funnel cake fantasy, which doesn't mean that it's bad. It does mean that there is a certain ceiling on the level of quality, and also a certain amount of resemblance to someone's home brew Dungeons and Dragons setting.

Ice Forged is fine. That's the nicest thing to say about it. It's not bad. It throws some stoc
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love a good epic fantasy, and this is an excellent start to just such a series. Blaine is sentenced right at the beginning of the story, and takes on the name Mick to hide from the past and give himself a new start. The story covers his long journey on the ship full of other convicts to Velant, where the winters are long, harsh, and with virtually no daylight. However the story is equally focused on a young man (whose name I can't find just now, it's a while since I've read this one!) who live ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had fun reading this book. It's set in a solid fantasy-type world with a nice concept of magic. I agree with another reviewer who said that the vampires (yes, there are vampires) seemed like they were added just because the author likes to write about them, not because they fit particularly well into the structure of the world. Everytime they pop up in the story, it feels a little forced. It didn't ruin the experi
Michelle Hauck
Apr 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was a little thrown because the book starts right at the point where Blaine murders his sister’s molester. It didn’t really give us a chance to invest in the characters, in fact we barely see the sister, which makes it difficult to connect with the killing or Blaine’s exile. I keep reading mainly because of plot than because I ever developed a deep interest in the characters.

The plot I could get behind. It was interesting and had enough twists to keep my attention. I did want to see whether th
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I received the ARC of this book through Goodreads First Reads. Thank you!
My first thought when I got this book is that it has a beautiful cover. Looking forward to start reading as soon as I get some free time from the busy holiday season.
I am pleasantly surprised with this book. I didn't have high expectations as this is the first book that I have read by this author. As I am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and the Tairen Soul series similar (fantasy) world got me in with the first page. New wo
Fantasy Literature
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it
There are some crimes that are so heinous that a person’s reaction to them is almost chemical, not logical. When Blaine McFadden is confronted by the sight of his beloved younger sister after she has been sexually assaulted, he loses control and in short order kills the man responsible. In that act, no matter how justified, Blaine seals his fate and is exiled to a distant, frozen penal colony to pay for having taken another man’s life.

Ice Forged is Gail Z. Martin’s initial entry in a new series
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding fantasy novel, Ice Forged breaks a lot of fantasy cliches wide open: characters behave rationally in situations, never allowing an overinflated sense of self to get in the way; the war in the background is important, but not nearly as important as what comes of it. Each character has a chance to shine, while the two male leads - Blaine MacFadden and Bevin Connor - a convict and a retainer find their paths converging in the wake of disaster. Neither one behaves like typical charact ...more
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What's new with Ice Forged? 4 29 Jun 26, 2013 03:46PM  

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Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wroteat age fivewas about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites. She is married and has three childr ...more

Other books in the series

Ascendant Kingdoms (5 books)
  • No Reprieve
  • Reign of Ash (Ascendant Kingdoms, #2)
  • War of Shadows (Ascendant Kingdoms, #3)
  • Shadow and Flame (Ascendant Kingdoms, #4)

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