A Cavern of Black Ice Mass Market Paperback – Feb 24 2005
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A Cavern of Black Ice opens J.V. Jones's Sword of Shadows trilogy. (Her first novel was The Baker's Boy.) The story is set in a land divided among small warring clans of hunters and more sophisticated southern cities whose lords covet the clan territories.
Young clansman Raif has a touch of "old blood" magic that guides his arrows to the heart. Bad times come when a hunting party that includes his father and clan chief is wiped out by a supernaturally aided attack, and Raif's open suspicion of the brutal new leader eventually drives him into exile. Meanwhile, Iss, overlord of Spire Vanis city, keeps a chained-up sorcerer whose powers he channels by revolting means, and has unexplained but shuddersome plans for his "foster daughter" Ash--herself an unwilling focus of dread forces. Raif and Ash find themselves fleeing together through wintry, hostile clanlands, pursued by Iss's vilest henchmen, seeking the dubious goal of the Cavern of Black Ice.
What lifts this tale far above routine quest fantasy is Jones's deft characterization, relentless intensity, and unsparing depiction of pain and slow-healing injury. She has a flair for memorably horrid images. Here a sorcerer gloats over one of his nastier tricks: "A man could not fight when his corneas were snapped from his eyes like badges from a chest."
This hefty volume is over 800 pages long, but the narrative grips hard once it's gained momentum, and the pages turn increasingly fast. Strong meat. Next comes book two, A Fortress of Grey Ice. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The first volume of Jones's (The Barbed Coil, etc.) new trilogy is set in a sub-arctic land so vividly realized that it contributes notably to the book's suspense and emotional impactAeven as it almost overpowers its characters. Ashd March, the adopted daughter of a nobleman; Raif and Dray Sevrance, two accomplished archers; and Angus Lok, a once formidable warrior, are becoming increasingly aware, through alarming signsAa camp of murdered men, a recurring nightmare of ice and blood, an ominous call to armsAof a magical evil coming their way. The destinies of these four, particularly of Ash and Raif, become progressively entwined, even entangled, as the novel lumbers toward its inconclusive ending. Throughout, Jones skillfully mixes bits borrowed from history, folklore, religion (her shamans are particularly well done) and other fantasy works, but her attention to these details and her determination to introduce every element of her trilogy at once slow the pacing and sometimes create more confusion than clarity. Nonetheless, Jones has a real gift for evocative description, and the novel will satisfy most saga lovers. Agent, Russ Galen.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Absolutely enthralling, very very dark and definitely not one for the children. A Sword of Shadows is a realistic fantasy (if such an oxymoron could be said to exist) set in a uniquely challenging environment and is smart enough to use that for all its worth.
The drawbacks? It's about as grim as the fantasy genre gets and by that definition will not be to everyone's taste. Having said that, if you like your fantasy dark, brooding, blood soaked and resolutely unafraid to be different, A Cavern of Black Ice could very well be essential reading for you.
A number of fascinating different cultures exist in Jones' fantasy world and the multiple point-of-view style is reminiscient of G. R. R. Martin. Some writers complained about the slow pace at points, and it is true there are moments when you might wish for the author to forsake her characters for the sake of more action, but patience is rewarded in the end and there turns out to be plenty of action after all. The characters are more memorable for the added character development and I look forward to following their adventures in the rest of the series.
The wintery aspect of this book, that takes place on a cold northern continent, makes it appropriate reading for this time of year (January), but as a great new epic fantasy it will be a classic anytime. Too bad you can only get book four on the Kindle.
BEFORE YOU READ THIS
IF YOU ARE INTO FORMULATIC GENRE WRITING THIS IS YOUR TYPE OF TEXT
BUT BE WARNED...IT TRIES THE PATIENCE OF MANY READERS AT ITS SLOW TO DEVELOP AND THE RESOLUTION IS SOO QUICK IT LEAVES YOU CHECKING THE BOOK FOR ANY SIGNS OF MUTULATIONS ...ANY SIGNS THAT SOMEONE, THE LIBARIAN PERHAPES...ANYONE! COULD TEAR OUT THE LAST 10 OR SO PAGES...I've checked...No one did
The begining was quite catching, Jones' introduction to the tantalising and very unique world of ...[well..ive quite forgoten... a sign that this was NOT a FaBuLoUs prize] hmm. Let's just say where the introduction capitvated me instantly with not only its setting but intriguing characters of ASH, RAIF and etc... and left me racing through the book, desperate to find out more...but by the end I still raced through the book...only now desperately in determination to FINISH the damned book. WHAT A RELIEF! However the BIGGEST flaw in Jones' novel is the inconsistancy of the events, and by that i mean 10 chapters or so on the quest and like a compacted 5 pages on the resolution. IF you're been sitting on your arse for 7 hrs reading this book only to be cheated out of that long anticipated wait with 5 pages of what a child's conclusion...well you'd be pretty damed pissed.
TOOO LONG on non significant things
which left VERY VERY rushed resolutions
and most importantly...
it was SOOO boring towards the end...
i was praying ...
In A Cavern of Black Ice, Jones builds off her earlier work, creating a dark and utterly believable world. Here, magic takes a back seat to brute force as clans and cities struggle for control of a dangerous artic land. Jones shifts between her different characters with amazing skill, showing different sides to each conflict. There is no black-and-white good versus evil here, atleast not on the surface.
It is true that, while humans struggle for dominance over eachother, only the Sull seem to see the true danger, as truely evil beings struggle to be freed from their prison. Yet Jones does not create any true "good" to withstand this evil, as central characters kill and torture those in their way, each for their own reasons. The hero here, by his owns actions, is more traitor than saint, but yet he is a very strong character who the reader can sympathize with. Jones is brilliant at using this moral gray zone to bring out the humanity in each character, and tieing them all together. This book, along with it's sequel, stand out as great pieces of literature, period. I can only hope that the conclusion to this saga matches the first two in quality. For those of you waiting for the third and final volume, it's coming out in April at uk.amazon.com. I for one can hardly wait.
Most recent customer reviews
I loved the Book of Words trilogy and The Barbed Coil. Which made trying to force my way through this book even more frustrating. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by JM
Like a good stout, I guess. The book is undeniably dark in tone. Characters smile less than once per chapter, and even most of those smiles are of the nasty kind. Read morePublished on July 13 2003 by Amazon Customer
I really loved A Cavern of Black Ice. The plot was interesting and the characters were great. The only fault I found is how similar it is to the Book of Words books. Read morePublished on May 7 2003 by Amy
Am I reading the same book that is referred to by all these rave reviews? To put it succinctly (which the author knows not) this book is sloww[... Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2003 by xtreme fan
"Up came her arms to encompass a world beyond his own. Her mouth fell open and a terrible dark substance poured from her tongue and blasted against the ice. The cavern shook. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2002 by kl9100
Having enjoyed, but not been terribly impressed with Jones' previous trilogy, I was surprised to find A Cavern of Black Ice so impressive in scope, tone and writing. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by Susan M. Jackson
I don't know what the other readers here saw in this book, but I personally thought it was boring as allgetout! Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2002 by John
Riveting. I could not put the book down. Dark, yet somehow not depressing. Leaves you wanting more, much more.Published on Aug. 3 2002