The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.
In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.
Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home. And only a winter child―and the ice dragon who loved her―could save her world from utter destruction.*
This is such a quick, easy read with beautiful illustrations–the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday, paired with a cup of tea and a cozy blanket.
When you take the story at face value, it’s very sad and from what I’ve heard of George RR Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, a perfect introduction to the way he kills characters off with reckless abandon. But when you stop and think through the metaphor behind it, reinforced by the illustrations on the inside front and back covers, it becomes a really touching tale of a little girl who had always lived on the outside and separated herself from others because of the difference she perceived in herself, but learns to overcome this insecurity or emotional handicap and become a true part of her family, able to laugh and love and connect with the people around her.
The story really draws on the metaphor of the seasons as emotions, with Adara initially stuck in winter (depression) at the loss of a mother she never got the chance to know, but finally able to let go of that and become a new, happier person in Spring. So, while it was different than what I was expecting (which was a cute tale of a girl befriending a dragon, with a fairy tale ending), it is still a great read, perfect for a snow day or just a lazy weekend afternoon.
While I give the story a 5/5 for adults, I’m not entirely sure I see the appeal in reading it to children, as I can’t imagine they would like the relatively sad ending.
*Synopsis and cover photo are from Amazon.com.