I love children’s books and when I ran across a book from my favourite author – with drawings from Luis Royo, I immediately purchased it!
I must say I have not read many short stories from George R.R. Martin aside from the EPIC “A song of ice and fire” and the books that followed it. And seeing a story about a winter child called Adara who is cold to the touch and has blond hair and ice blue eyes made me think of the walkers and whether the cold of the North is enough to breed a monster.
But the child is a human child, lonesome and loving the winters. When its summer she longs for winter, and when its winter she is happy. This is because with winter comes the ice dragon. He comes to visit her when she turns four and she manages to ride on its back when she is five.
The dragon is the only thing that can cure her loneliness; he is her only friend.
She builds mini-castles in the snow, talks to snow lizards and it feels like a mini-Elsa from Frozen as the cold never bothered her.
War approaches Adara’s little home, an invading nation with their own dragon riders are ravaging the landscape. Her uncle has his own dragon, and urges her to flee with him to safety. She refuses as she could not leave her dragon or her father who refuses to leave his home. The enemy dragons attack so she defends. She mounts her ice dragon and a fight between ice and fire begins.
The ice dragon blows cold ice and freezes wings off until they snap, freezes both dragon and rider alike, but he is wounded when a fire-dragon, black scaled, breathes fire and melts a wing off. She leaves the wailing dragon in the fields and runs home to her family.
She tells her story but none of her family, maybe except her brother Geoff, believe her. Nobody heard of ice dragons in ages – let alone of someone who can tame them and ride them. She grows up in the south, fleeing the war and making a living at a farm – and when she returns back North once she is grown up – she sees her friends, the snow lizards, but she does not pick them up anymore as her warmth will kill them.
The good parts:
The illustrations in this edition are fantastic. They really help to capture the essence of the story. The close up drawing of the ice dragon is a particular favourite of mine. While we follow Adara closely, the land and the environment were probably my second 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.
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.
The bad parts:
The price is £12.99 for a book that is read in less than 25 minutes (timed it!). There are huge double-paged breaks between chapters and the font is quite big. I had this strong feeling of the publishers milking George Martin’s fans for all they’ve got and riding the Dragon’s fame.
You can find it cheaper on Ebay if you have a close look