Angela's Reviews > The Cry of the Icemark

The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
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's review
Apr 07, 2012

it was ok

This is a debut novel with strong promises that the author will hone his craft as other books come along.; but it was a first novel, and it shows. There was a lot of telling of characters' thoughts and motivations (which I tended to skip because they often went on for pages), instead of *showing* their thoughts/motives in more powerful ways. Sometimes the dangerous action, especially in the early chapters, came out of nowhere and didn't seem plausible. Moreover, I was distracted by the feeling that I had read a lot of this book before - in other books (Dark Materials, LOTR, Narnia, and for some reason Inkheart and Stardust also kept coming to mind). This was furthered by the fact that a LOT of the names were either adapted or lifted directly from LOTR (Eodred, Icemark, Theowyn, South Farthing, etc).

Most of the characters were strong and believable, though eclipsed at times by the bulky writing. Redrought was a bit cartoonish at times, but still very likable; and I love how Hill handled Maggie and Grimswald. ULtimately, I stuck it out through the book for Thirrin and Oskan, who were by far the most dynamic characters.

I think Hill was truly on to something here, it was just shrouded in the stumblings of a first book. Many of the elements - the Oak and Holly Kings, Hill's take on werewolves, the snow leopards - were truly original, as was Oskan's gifts and personal history. If the book does make it to the big screen, I expect it will be an excellent one and I"d gladly see it. I just wish that Hill had walked away from this one at the manuscript stage for about a year, taken the time to write some other things, then come back and given it the sort of brutal editing that would have taken it from mediocre to great.
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