Dragons. Humans have a love-hate relationship with these fantasy creatures. My first tutor on the subject of dragons was C. S. Lewis, whose depiction of dragonish attributes in Voyage of the Dawn Treader assumed children of his time would know that dragons were greedy and hoarded gold. I had not known this previously, so my education obviously had been lacking. My later reading of The Hobbit confirmed this general idea. However, my ideas were being tainted by the glorious telepathic dragons of Anne McCaffery in her Dragonriders of Pern Series. The amazing dragons of Ms. McCaffery were a far cry from the greedy, evil creatures that bold knights would slay. Sir Terry modified my ideas about dragons still further, for on the Discworld, dragons are endangered creatures, as tame as pets. The point is that I am open-minded on the subject of dragons.
Tara West is a member of the Eclective, and I thoroughly enjoyed her stories in their Haunted Collection and Apocalypse Collection. So I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review one of her novel length works, Curse of the Ice Dragon.
According to the author’s blurb, this is what we are expecting from Curse of the Ice Dragon : “Born with mark of the Mighty Hunter, Markus has the skill and strength to feed his people, but not to confront his own tyrannical father. Shamed by his cowardice, Markus releases his frustration on the forest creatures.
The village prophet warns that Markus’s reckless ways will bring down The Hunter’s Curse, and for every animal Markus kills, his loved ones will suffer the same fate. When the warnings go unheeded, the Sky Goddess unleashes her ice dragon. Now Markus must flee the dragon without killing it or his beloved brother will die.
Markus’s flight takes him to the lands of the mysterious Ice People. There, the beautiful maiden Ura helps Markus learn the compassion and courage he needs to face the wrath of the Goddess, but the final confrontation will not be without price, as Markus must choose between the life of his brother and the fate of the girl he loves.”
Curse of the Ice Dragon is a relatively unambiguous title, so my open-mindedness notwithstanding, I had a preconceived idea about the ice dragon in this book. However, without spoiling anything, I can tell you that the dragon is not what she appears, which is a reflection of this entire work. Expect the unexpected!
Markus is a sympathetic, although not thoroughly likeable, character in the beginning of the novel, but his growth throughout made me proud of him by the end. The Sky Goddess is treated as a positive force in the beginning but is she really? Each character we meet is not what he or she might appear, and proves this by the end of the book.
The pacing, description and characterizations here are first rate. Ms. West creates a plausible world, and an engaging story. As the beginning of a series, the piece wraps up its own story but builds interest for the next book. I’m grateful to have been given the chance to share this work with you. On the Imaqulotta Scale, I would rate Curse of the Ice Dragon as Heavenly.