Buddy Read with Anna!
This story left me feeling pretty haunted, so please keep that in mind and maybe read the book yourself first, before giving this to your child. I do think this story packs a pretty big punch with a pretty impactful message, even though I think the message could be misconstrued.
For me, the message, or symbolism, was it is okay to be cold and alone, but sometimes it is worth it to take a risk to feel someone else’s warmth, especially the love of your family. It’s completely fine to deal with your pain and hurt on your own, but sometimes just feeling loved will heal the biggest of wounds.
This book stars Adara and is mostly about three years of her life. She is a “winter child”, because she was born during the worst freeze in history. Snow, ice, and cold do not bother her in the slightest, and she kind of gave me an Elsa vibe because she also likes to make ice castles (smooth, GRRM, smooth). She lives with her older brother, her older sister, and her father. When she is four she comes in close contact with “her” ice dragon. Then, when she is five “her” ice dragon lets her go for a ride. During these two years of her life, Adara is very closed off and recluse. In my opinion, she is scared to accept love and doesn’t know how to deal with her pain and guilt. Also, there is constant talk of a war with dragons. They hear about the new from their Uncle, Hal, who is a dragonrider for the king’s army.
When Adara is seven, the dark dragons come. Her father refused to leave their home, because this is where his wife and his parents are buried. Three dark dragons come and begin to attack their village with their riders. Adara is then forced to choose the safe, lonely, cold life or choose to protect the warmth of her family’s love.
Now, in my opinion, again, this book also has underlining ASOIAF symbolism, too! I mean, it’s literally ice versus fire! This book is set before the Seven Kingdoms, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see ice dragons in Westeros. (Especially with a title like The Winds of Winter!)
I also have to mention the absolutely gorgeous illustrations in this book. My eyes have never been blessed with Luis Royo’s work before, but they very much appreciated what they saw in this story. I could look at this book for hours, it’s so breathtaking. I also think the illustrations were a big reason this story resonated so much with me and, in turn, made me feel so haunted.