Goodreads: The Ice Dragon
No one has ever tamed or ridden an ice dragon, but Adara, child of the winter, knows nothing of that. Every year she waits for the appearance of the ice dragon on her birthday and one year she finally climbs upon its back. Then enemy soldiers come from the north, their dragonriders burning everything in their path. Can on young girl save her village?
George R. R. Martin’s debut children’s story seeks to recreate the magic of fairy tale, employing references to vague legends, alluding to far-off and unknown lands, and providing an overly generous dose of repetition in the narrative. These strategies, along with the harping on the specialness and the innocence of the young protagonist, at time make the story almost too forced to be believed; rather tan find myself in a world of ice and dragons, I found myself reflecting upon Martin’s writing decisions,
The fairy tale inspiration means that the characters are sparsely drawn and the driving forces behind the plot receive only the vaguest of mentions. The heart of the story must not come from sympathetic characters or stirring actions, or even large-scale political drama. Rather it must come from somewhere deep within the story itself–the loss and change it hints at must become the reader’s own.
Unfortunately, my detachment from the story meant I never claimed the emotions in the story as my own. I real clinically, wondering how Martin would proceed, what methods he would employ. And, in the end, I felt the story had failed to capture the true spirit of Faerie. Martin may be considered a giant of modern fantasy, but fantasy and fairy tale are very different. Perhaps it is a rare individual who can enter both worlds.