I finished just two books in the cold, unfriendly month of January, both by the incomparable J. V. Jones.
I am always amazed by Jones’ flawless world-building, and the uncompromisingly high quality of her work. Her novels arguably fall into the bracket of traditional (or epic) fantasy, but there are no embarrassing instances of inexplicably all-powerful ‘mysterious’ men, or tiresome heroes somehow able to wield a sword with unbeatable skill despite being in possession of no prior experience and little physical strength. Jones’ work is complex and nuanced, her characters are realistically diverse, and her prose is immersive.
Books read: 2
- A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows #1) by J. V. Jones
- A Fortress of Grey Ice (Sword of Shadows #2) by J. V. Jones
Started: A Song of Ice and Fire by G. R. R. Martin
J. V. Jones’ A Cavern of Black Ice
“In Spire Vanis, an uncrowned ruler steals magic from tortured captives, while an innocent girl is haunted by nightmares of ice. On the frigid steppes, two brothers find their kinsmen slain by swords that draw no blood. At a remote homestead, a hardened warrior leaves his family to follow a raven’s summons.
And in a deadly wilderness where nature and the gods have no mercy, two young fugitives will confront the unfolding of an apocalyptic prophecy…”
Read more about A Cavern of Black Ice from the source.
A Cavern of Black Ice is an unforgiving, atmospheric tale. The known world hangs in the balance, teetering on the thinnest of edges, and Jones’ characters, irrespective of the sides on which they stand, or the purity of their motives, find no easy successes. They suffer often and harshly, victories are ordinarily fleeting, and those most deserving of kindness and peace are rarely fortunate enough to find it. Hideous prophecy compels action, not laxity, and seems ill-disposed to look kindly upon reluctance.
I would strongly recommend any novel written by J. V. Jones, but A Cavern of Black Ice is a particular favourite, for the prose, the characters – Raif Sevrance, skilled and knowledgeable in many areas, painfully helpless in others, and consistently tortured by an act denounced by the traditions of his people as an unforgivable betrayal – and, of course, the unarguable vibrancy of the setting.
Check out my most recent book review here.