There are several aspects that impress me most about J.V.Jones as a writer. The detail of the characters she represents in her stories, is, in my opinion, second to none and "A Cavern of Black Ice" is no exception. Just as she delivered in " The Book of Words," J.V.Jones practically places you inside the minds and hearts of the people of the Northern Territories.
You will come to know the vile and repulsive villains of Spire Vanis, and, perhaps, wish you had not. Penthero Iss, the surlord of Spire Vanis, whose long years of patient manipulating hides a secret darker than night itself. Marafice Eye, aka, The Knife, whose single greatest pleasure seems to be in killing, and, Sarga Veys, the magic user and puppet of Penthero Iss, who secretly schemes to one day become the master.
On the other side, you will also come to know the heroes. Raif Sevrance, member of the Clan Blackhail, who is forced from his home and onto a road of adventure and peril. Angus Lok, the ranger and uncle of Raif Sevrance, who has special knowledge of things to come, and, Ash March, the foundling, who, together with Raif and Angus must embark upon a journey to find out who she is and who she will become.
Even the secondary characters in this story are full of detail. It seems that no one, from clansmen to chambermaids to palace guards, is left wanting for lack of definition. You will close this book and feel you know the most intimate details of all of their lives. This canny ability is what sets J.V.Jones apart from most authors, and, puts her at the top of the list with a very select few.
Another important dimension that strikes me about the writing style of J.V.Jones is how vivid the details of the different landscapes this story takes place in are written. Again, as with her earlier works, every aspect of every community visited and every land crossed is laid out in full view. You will be able to see the wide open ranges of the clan holds with their roundhouses of stone set deep in the ground, dog runs, frozen lakes and snow covered woods. You will know what it is like to live at Spire Vanis with it's intricately carved gates, statues, walls of coldest stone and deepest dungeons. You will know what it is like to visit cities like Ille Glaive with it's thousands of tear shaped windows, and, you will feel the numbing cold of frostbite as you ford through frozen rivers and cross ice covered fields. All of these fine points convene to create a land you shall not soon forget, and, that you will want to revisit, again and again.
With her latest work, " A Cavern of Black Ice, " J.V.Jones, once more, has proven herself as one of the premier fantasy writers of the day. With her eye for detail and wonderful story line, she will captivate you and pull you into a world you will wish not to leave. The many plots and sub plots of this story make it a page-turner you will find hard to put aside. And, when you finally do finish, her delivery leaves you impatiently waiting for the sequel!