Warning: I was in a funky mood when I wrote this. Keep that in mind please. :)
I always have high expectations when reading George R.R. Martin. He really did it to himself, have you read A Game of Thrones? So going into The Ice Dragon [US] [UK] [Kindle], GRRM's children's tale, I still had nothing but the highest and happiest of attitudes until I was completely disappointed...in nothing at all. :D
Okay, I've learned from the cases I've been reading in law school that in order to have a successful argument, all you have to do is act like you're going to decide one way, but then go the exact opposite. Did it work? (No, I'm not simplifying it at all, why would you say that?)
The plot is simple, yet extremely subtle as we've come to expect from Martin. Adara is a winter child who's not only physically cold, but distant from her family as well. She was not only born in winter, but was the reason for her mother's death and her father has had a difficult time with that.
Adara loves the winter and counts the days until it comes back. She stays out longer than anyone else and can even hold the ice lizards for long periods of time without hurting them like other children end up doing.
Soon the eponymous Ice Dragon enters the picture, visiting Adara at times during the winter, even letting her ride. You see, ice dragons are not only rare, but it is known that ice dragons never let anyone ride them. Other, smaller dragons are used by people, especially for war as we see in this story.
Without going into too much more detail, the land is filled with war and it is creeping toward Adara and her family, but her father belongs with the land as is important for many in the medieval-type society.
While we follow Adara closely, the land and the environment were probably my favorite part of the story. It's filled with hard-working farmers and dragons are commonplace. I would really love to read more of this world Martin's created, possibly outside of a children's tale.
But on that note, I would read more children's tales as well at this caliber. Although, I don't quite know if I'd categorize The Ice Dragon as a children's tale. About 99% was for children, but there was a section about split-heads and relatively gruesome scenes for children.
In the end, I highly enjoyed The Ice Dragon and would recommend it, especially at this time of year...or maybe not, GRRM does such a good job with atmosphere I was actually colder while reading it. Maybe wait till summer. Then again, you're probably hot enough. And you wonder how I get all the ladies. :)
4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)
Note on the eBook: This is an illustrated novel and I can't say they're done justice on the Kindle Touch at least (or anything with eInk). Mostly you can see them fine, but there are still quite a few that are hard to make out and all of them are at least somewhat difficult to view.