Ice Kissed is one of the prominent novels under The Kanin Chronicles written by Amanda Hocking. Amanda Hocking was born on July 12, 1984, in Austin, Minnesota. A successful 33-year-old woman who lives in Austin, Minnesota, is an author of a fantasy novel for young adults. Most of the genre of her novels are love myths, fantasy, fairy tales and young adult fiction. She began her journey as a part-time writer who wrote novels in spare time and surprisingly nine of her books that she has published are completely published in e-books and not published traditionally. Hence, she has sold a million copy of books after that and offered her trilogy series of novels to a movie producer. In her writing, several series of novels have been published such as The Kanin Chronicles, My Blood Approves series, Trylle Trilogy, The Hollows series, Watersong series and Valkyrie. Most of her writings have been criticised by the readers because she emphasized more on social commentaries such as social differences in society, materialistic, racism and terrorist. In the novel Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking, there are several issues that have been highlighted by the author such as the division of social class, racism, misuse of power by the royal authority, high treason and industrial revolution.
Based on the novel Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking, the author portrays the stereotype on the current issues that happens back a hundred years before such as a class distinction in society, racism between the tribes, misuse of power by the royal authority that leads to high treason and the industrial revolution. Based on my reading, I realised that the author acted as a society who expresses her concern regarding these awful matters. But, she is very keen and smart in her writing because she used the element of fantasy and romance in this novel that makes the readers blindly informed the purpose of her writing because the storyline perfectly expresses the hidden message of the writer. As a reader, I realised these awful stereotypes have numerous consequences in the future that can lead to a broken relationship within the society if we take it easy and just blindly follow these kinds of negative thoughts.
The setting and atmosphere in this novel are mostly in the 21st century in Canada where the writer illustrated the environment of hidden place that only trolls and royalty live there. The writer also explained the magnificent view of that place as it consists of an ice palace in Doldastam, the glittering palace of the Skojare, and Lake of Isolera. Basically, this story is full of fantasy that makes the readers apply their critical thinking because the setting itself makes the readers imagine the place as the writer described the significant view of these three places. On the other hand, the Lake of Isolera has been described as the only lake that can be viewed by the tribe of Skojare because it is the only special tribe who has gills. It is also known as a magical place of an oasis to swim in when the harsh Canadian winters bore down to hunt them. Based on the setting, it clearly portrays that the readers need to play with their imagination to sit with the fantasy storyline.
In a post-modern world, there is no concept of the hero in a novel. Hence, there is a leading character or also known as a protagonist who is known as Bryn Aven in the Ice Kissed. Bryn Aven is a woman, therefore the author applied the concept of feminism which is a woman as the main character in this story. In this novel, the protagonist is a soldier and an investigator of a kingdom who plays a significant role in terms of helping to catch a culprit who tried to kidnap and kill the king and the queen. She is also quite a unique character because she is the only troll who has a mixed-blood tribe where she does not know her own heritage and considered as an odd troll. Even though the main character is considered as a unique creature, she still in a lower class of people with a combination of the power of two tribes who serves the kingdom because of her parents is not in a higher position. Also, typically woman is labelled as a servant of man and this is also one of the reasons the writer tried to include the concept of feminism. There is a scene whereby King Kennet which is from a royalty family try to flirt with Bryn Aven to fulfil his lust because he thinks the main role of a woman is to serve a man which is completely against the nature of Bryn Aven’s belief.
The first issue that has been emphasized by the writer is the issue of social class. In this novel, it tells a story about the different tribe with a division of class. There are several tribes in this novel which are Hobgoblin, Hogdragen, the Host family, Iskyla, Kanin, Lysa, and Markis. Hobgoblin is described as an ugly and slow-witted but have a supernatural strength while Hogdragen is known as a tribe of an elite guard that shields the Kanin kingdom. On the other hand, Host family is known as the chosen one based on their ranking in human society with their total of wealth they have earned; the more wealth they have, the more powerful they are among the tribe. For Iskyla, they are just a minor Kanin arctic community in northern Canada that have the least power out of all and Kanin is one of the most powerful tribes of trolls as they have an ability to blend in like chameleons which they can change colour to help them merge with surroundings. Furthermore, Lysa has a telekinetic ability that allows a troll to physically enter another troll’s thoughts through a dream while Markis is a male royalty in troll society that similar with human duke which has a higher position but beneath the King and Queen of the kingdom.
Generally, different tribes have different power and capability and these are the reason for division in troll society. The tribe who is in higher position have been treated well by the royalty with a lot of necessity and a higher position of a job in the kingdom. In contrast, the tribe who has the least power will be considered as a servant who serves the kingdom. It also illustrates the distinctions of social class with the amount of wealth earned by the trolls. So, it clearly defined that there is a hierarchy among the trolls that similar to the human social class. As a reader, I simply get the messages of the writer who is very concern with the mindset of the society nowadays who just look upon a social class when it comes to services or relationship. In this novel, there is a scene where Bryn Aven who is the main character in Ice Kissed who came from the tribe of Lysa which is one of the lowest tribes cannot have a legal relationship with Ridley Dresden who is a Kanin because he is in a higher position of the tribe than her. So, the writer focused on the division of social class that really gives an impact on the relationship.
The second issue in this novel is racism among the tribe. But, in this novel, the writer portrays the concept of racism in a different way of what has been portrayed before. Typically, black people are known as powerless while white people are known as superior to other skin colour. In contrast, the writer emphasized the power more on the hand of black people rather than white people. For instance, in this novel, Bryn Aven has been described by the author as white people with blonde hair and fair skin compared to Ridley Dresden who is a tough, masculine and has a great power with a dark skin. She tried to change the mindset and stereotype of society that black people are not as powerless as they have been described by showing the scene whereby Bryn Aven need to obey her boss, Ridley Dresden even though he is a black man. She illustrated on how Bryn Aven is thinking on why she should obey and listen to Ridley Dresden since he does not have blue eyes and even he is from a different tribe which is something bizarre for the white people.
Racism is an ideology that humans can be divided into different racial clusters with characteristics that are fixed and inherited (Frideres, 2006). It shows an inequality in societies that leads to a broken relationship. In the mid-19th century, racists believed that people could be divided into a number of races such as through skin colour, hair texture and the colour of eyes. The race categorization is completely against the nature of human beings and it applies the concept of bias among race. After the Second World War, the concept of racism became steadily increasing as an inappropriate description for human beings. As in Canada, during the late 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century, Black Canadians also faced a discrimination in terms of employment, housing and access to public services and this is why I think the writer who is from Minnesota came up with this kind of thought whereby she wrote the novel with something different with the exact tragedy that happened before. Amanda Hocking emphasized the black trolls as more superior in terms of power than the white trolls.
In addition, the next issue that has been highlighted by the author is the misuse of power by the royal authority. The collapse of the institution is mostly because of the misuse of power by the higher authority towards the citizen. As in the novel Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking, the author emphasized on how the royalty uses their power to get what they want from innocent people such as from the lower class of trolls where they treat them just as a servant to that country just because they are powerless. There is a scene where they want to hire a soldier to safeguard their kingdom by choosing a lower class trolls without any payment. Also, they think the role of a citizen is to serve the kingdom which is against the nature of human beings to be treated like that. The concept of an implementation of constitutional monarchy is not relevant for the post-modern system because there are a lot of educated people that can be hired in an institution to govern and help a kingdom or a country.
Also, based on the novel that I read there is a scene that illustrates the prince who is Kennet Biaelse make an assumption that he has right to flirt and seduce the soldier because of the power he has. For example, he uses the word “I’m your Prince, so you should obey me” which is completely affects the dignity of a woman and as a prince. Personally, as a reader, I think even though he is from a royal family, he does not have a right to use the word ‘obey’ because it obviously represents the misuse of his power. In this case, we can see how the author wants to show to the readers the corruptness of the royal authority because of the misuse of the power against their citizen. I admit that as a citizen of a country, we should obey our ruler but we also have to acknowledge the gap that we are supposed to have when we are engaging with a higher authority.
The consequences of the misuse of power can lead to treason. Treason is a crime of betraying one’s country specifically by attempting to kill or defeat the sovereign. In this novel, it shows how a prince wants to be a king by committing high treason. In the chapter forty-four under the title rivalry, the author illustrates the scene whereby the prince, Kennet Biaelse who is the brother of the king, Mikko Biaelse has hired one of the soldiers in the kingdom to kill his brother. He uses his power as a prince to assign one of the soldiers to obey what he asked because he thinks that a citizen needs to obey the words of royalty. Moreover, the author has highlighted the scene which they are fighting over the throne to be the most powerful person in the kingdom. The way the author has portrayed is quite similar to the concept of high treason that happens before in the 18th century on The War of the Austrian Succession.
The last issue in this novel is the Industrial Revolution. Industrial Revolution is a process of change that happens in the modern history from an agrarian and handicraft economy to one conquered by machine manufacturing and industry. It was the transition to new manufacturing developments in the time from about 1760 to between 1820 and 1840. The transition included from the methods of hand production to machines, chemical manufacturing, the growing use of steam power, the development and increasing of machine tools and others. Moreover, the Industrial Revolution is a major turning point in history to the society because almost every aspect of daily life was influenced by the Industrial Revolution. It does give a huge and drastic impact on a society and a country.
Based on the development of Industrial Revolution, it can be seen in the novel in terms of the sophisticated and the unique features of the art of the palace. It can be found in the scene which Marksinna who is the grandmother of the king talks about the glittering palace of the Skojare to Bryn Aven who is the main character in this novel. She describes the significance of every inch of the details of the architectural design of the palace by saying “Luckily, it happens because of the Industrial Revolution”. It clearly indicates the changes in terms of the details of the magnificent art of the palace after the arrival of Industrial Revolution. But, the main point of the message brought by the author is the way the royalty take an advantage of the Industrial Revolution is by making their citizen as an implementer of the changes by giving an order to fulfil their desire.
In short, the trolls are the one who acted as the servants of the kingdom to fulfil the desire of royal authority. As expressed in the novel, there is a line “It is their job to support the changes of Industrial Revolution, so do our demand” which shows on how powerless the underclass trolls are which is to do everything that has been asked by the royal authority. Personally, I think the main message is to indicate on even though Industrial Revolution does give a huge impact on the development of a country or kingdom, but it also has negative impacts on the society. So, everything that happens in terms of technology has its pros and cons to the society. The author tried to say that not everything that happens can give a satisfaction to everyone as in this novel that indicates the Industrial Revolution.
There is a similar issue in this novel that related to Malaysia such as racism among society. As we all know, Malaysia is a multi-racial country that consists of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other ethnic. The concept of ‘1 Malaysia’ is a programme designed by Malaysian Prime Minister on 16 September 2010 as an alternative to creating national unity and ethnic harmony. On the other hand, the issue of racism is still growing among the society. For instance, back a few years, the issue of national school that created a division of place in a canteen that has divided the Malay, Chinese and Indian is something awful and unforgettable to the society. As a multi-racial country, we should live in peace and in harmony way by ignoring others skin colour and religion. As a developing country, we should unite to create national unity and ethnic harmony.
In conclusion, the novel Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking really have the strong messages that the author wants to portray and highlight such as the issues of the division of social class, racism, misuse of power by the royal authority, high treason and industrial revolution. Using the genre of fantasy, the author is successfully delivered her message through writing with her keen and smart words that make the readers blindly informed the real message using the element of romance and fantasy. Even though the issues or messages are quite sensitive for certain people, but I think she delivered it quite well with a lot of significant value that makes the scene and storyline become interesting for the readers to bring on their imagination to the higher level.