The Cry of the Icemark Book Review

Icemark is a kingdom in grace danger.

Its king has been killed in battle.

Its enemy lies in wait.

And its fate rests on the shoulders of one girl.

–Front Flap

Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

Meet Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-Arm Lindenshield. She’s the 13 year old princess of a small country called Icemark. For a long time, there’s been a sort of peace over the country. But now the massive and powerful Polypontian Empire has set their sights on little Icemark, and with the sudden death of her father, Thirrin and her friend Oskan must defend her country, or go down with it.

I bought this book a long time ago for my birthday. I thought the cover was fairly awesome and that’s really what drew me in; I was curious. The story, as you can see from above, is the classic re-telling of the Roman Empire marching to conquer the world. The Polypontian Empire has all the order and strength that Rome had, and Hill even mixes and matches names of great Romans for his Polypontian characters.

My brother and I were wild about this book when we read it (you’ll see why later) and we even went as far as to place where Icemark would be in our world, according the limited descriptions of the area and their gods. We think it’s around Norway. In case you were dying to know. Which I am sure you were.

Anyways, Thirrin has quite an adventure in this book, beginning in her homeland and moving up through Hill’s world as she struggles to make allies with the Vampire King and Queen, the Wolf-folk and the legendary Snow Leopards that live on the Hub of the World.

Most of the book concentrates on her ally-making, and for the most part, it’s fairly interesting. The writing is good-enough, and the magical aspects of the book can set a good imagination going. My favorite part was their journey to the Hub of the World (a place far in the north), as Hill’s descriptions of the cold land really made an impression on me.

 Thirrin is a strong female character, and her friend Oskan is funny and together they are an engaging pair. The only beef I have with Thirrin is that she does not act like a 13-year-old kid. No 13-year-old I’ve ever met had that amount of maturity. Not even me. She acted and spoke like an adult. She should have been 18. It would have made much more sense.

 Most of the other characters a little stereotypical, or not really interesting enough that I need to mention them here. I did like the way the Polypontian general was described, as he ended up being rather fierce and imposing in my mind. The Snow Leopards I liked a lot too. But my point here was that for the most part, the characters are average.  Developed enough but not exactly leaping off the pages.

Actually, for the most part, this book is really average. After multiple reads, the writing seems a little bland, the plot a little predictable.  So why did I say earlier that my brother and I were wild about this?

Well, mostly because of the ease in which this book could translate into an excellent movie. And that ease comes from the battle scenes. We were obsessed with the fights in this book. They subtlety brilliant, and the image of Thirrin’s amassed allies and her own soldiers fighting against the great Polypontian Empire– well it’s certainly something. Especially this one scene, where these archers blow up these cannons– aw, man, I want to spoil it but I can’t. Just know that it was wicked.

So yes, it is really the fight scenes that hold this book together and make it really worthwhile, which is acceptable, as it is a war story. The rest is okay, but the battles are the funnest parts to read.

 This book is definitely worth your time if you’re looking for a nice story with a bit of drama and a pinch of adventure, and some good fighting. If you don’t get as wild about it as me and my brother, that’s understandable and probably expected, since we really saw it as the base for a cool movie, not just as an average book.

But if you’re in the mood, go ahead. You’ll have a good time. Just don’t read the sequels, because I’ve skimmed through them and they really suck.

Ri’s Rating:


3/ 5

0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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  1. Priya

     /  November 27, 2011

    AMAZING. A MUST READ. DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED 4 ACTION LUVERSSSS. I lov how hill describes the  in the second book

    • Definitely true. Have you read the other books in the series?

      • Call me Ems

         /  December 8, 2012

        I’ve read the sequel, Blade of Fire I think it is called. I didn’t think it was bad, but certainly not as good as the first book. I think it’s a trilogy, but I haven’t read the third one.

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