This series is not something I’ve approached very well. I started reading it some eight years ago when I reviewed A Cavern of Black Ice in 2009. The books are so intimidating in size that I kept putting them off and putting them off but my holiday finally gave me to push I needed to read the third book in the series. Thankfully Jones is kind enough to provide a handy synopsis at the beginning to allow people like me to remind myself of what happened so far.
A Sword from Red Ice comes in at 677 pages and the words are tiny. Despite being called A Sword from Red Ice the sword doesn’t actually appear until the last 20 pages of the book. The same thing happened in the other two so the titles of the books seem to be destinations of the journey of Raif.
Another note on the length is that I actually think it’s too long. There is a lot of stuff that happens to some of the characters than don’t add anything to the story. That said the series isn’t over yet but I would have forgotten some of the smaller things by the time I come to read the next one.
It is still a very enjoyable story with lots of intriguing characters. In fact there are so many characters that Jones forgot how many there were when writing the blurb. The blurb mentions three characters and their stories but the book itself is told from seven different perspectives, told a chapter at a time. I’m not sure why there is the need to tell the story from so many different angles when the three on the back are highlighted as the important ones.
Which brings me on to the biggest fuck ass in the book. Raina. She is such a twat that reading her chapters caused me to have a headache. If it wasn’t whining about what was going on, it was saying she was going to do something about it...and then not.
It’s also a very messily written book. I lost count of the amount of spelling and grammar issues throughout but there are so many chapters and words that it’s probably not that bad in terms of percentage.
Outside of this, there were a few things other than Raina that made me stop and take note, the first being Mal Naysayer and his Deux-Ex Machina ability to show up just as the right time to save Ash’s life. Another one is where Raif’s friend Addie develops an attitude problem for literally no reason, unless Raif didn’t give him a reach around in one of the deleted scenes, and Angus Lok’s 100% unnecessary involvement at the start and end of the book.
Another thing that made me laugh is Raif’s ability to survive his monstrous injuries throughout the entirety of the story. This was the same in the second book too. I mean, this guy is basically physically maimed at the end of the last story and somehow manages to continuously survive against all odds.
Despite the book’s length and what I’ve said above, I did get a lot of enjoyment out of the story and will be finishing the series... though I actually need to buy the next one first and probably arrange another holiday so I will actually invest the time in doing so.
A Sword from Red Ice by J.V. Jones was published by Tor in 2007. RRP £8.99 (Paperback)