On Monday we had fiery nonfiction with Fire Birds, today we have some ice cold fiction with The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin and illustrated by Luis Royo.
Unless you have been under a rock (or the parent of a small child), you have probably heard of HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on the books by George R.R. Martin. This man has serious fantasy cred and has won numerous writing awards.
The Ice Dragon is an older short story written by Martin and originally published in 1980 in the Dragons of Light anthology edited by Orson Scott Card. It was illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert and published again in 2007. Now it has been lavishly illustrated by Luis Royo and re-released for the young adult market.
With that background, it is not surprising that this books is beautifully written. The reader wants to savor every word. The illustrations are even more moving, if possible. Done in cool blues and grays, they are fierce and delicate at the same time.
That is not to say there aren’t flaws. The main character is a young girl – for the main part of the story she is from four to seven years old – much younger than the teen readers of the target audience. At the same time, there is a strong undercurrent of violence and sadness that, although not as graphic as Game of Thrones, is not appropriate for younger readers. For the right reader, it will be marvelous. However, finding the right reader is not a given.
The plotting is also up for discussion. Without giving too much away, this story is like a delicate, beautiful snow crystal that forms, is gloriously beautiful, and then melts away to nothing. Did Martin intend it to be like a melting snowflake or was it simply an awkward ending? If you read it, I would love to hear what you think.
In any case, The Ice Dragon is a quick read that is going to thrill fantasy fans. Although published for young adults, it is likely to find a following amongst adults as well. It has just the right amount of haunting beauty to keep readers pondering it long after they’ve read it.
Age Range: 12 – 18 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (October 21, 2014)
Disclosures: This book was my personal copy. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.