"A Cavern of Black Ice" is the first part of a new J V Jones series titled "Sword of Shadows". I knew picking up a J V Jones novel was going to be a rewarding read after the wonderful "The Book of Words" trilogy which announced a new star to the fantasy genre.
This book begins with two gripping scenes in the prologue. These scenes are among the most vivid and foreboding I have encountered , be prepared to be scared!
J V Jones describes in much detail the setting and characters of the Northern Territories & Spire Vanis. Be ready for the harsh cold climate of the North and for your own emotions to sway between pride and hatred when encountering the various characters in this epic.
The conniving clever Mace Blackhail known as the Hail Wolf. Oh, how I loathed him. Penthero Iss - Surlord of Spire Vanis the master of deception; Sarga Veys - Surlord's pet; Ash March - the foundling, born with a terrible curse; Raif Sevrance - who must weigh his conscience at every turn against honor and duty; Angus Lok- the dependable ranger who is full of secrets; and Vaylo Bludd - the Dog Lord.
Some books in the fantasy realm are hard to follow due to poor character descriptions and in some occasions the reader can forget who is who. In "Cavern" however, the characters were easily recognisable. At certain points I would briefly stop reading and consider what the character/s were thinking. What was most important for each character, was it power, honor, greed, family respect.
The plot was structured from the prologue and had a tandem story of Raif Sevrance and Ash March. In this J V Jones gave much detail of the lives of the two main characters. This detail while interesting made for a slow read up until Raif and Ash meet. After reading "Cavern" I felt that detail was required to give the necessary background of the Northern Territories and the dilemma's both characters faced.
The last half of the book was a whirlwind of adventure fully of sorcery, fear, determination and honor. I couldn't put it down and when there was no more to read I felt pure anguish.
I was shocked of the twist J V Jones had instore for us at the end. I knew then that I had truly been bested by a master of the fantasy genre.