Not long ago I looked through the books I had been sent to review and pulled some of the more promising out and made a pile. Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke was on the top and, apparently, I had chosen well, for this was one of the best books to review I have gotten my hands on in a long while. I started reading this almost 420-page book in the car while I waited for my children to exit their school. I found myself leaving home early just to sit in the parking lot and guzzle a few more pages. Soon, however, it grew so intense I traded it with my inside fiction book and finished the rest of it in air-conditioned delight.
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Saga Press
Stars: 4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths
The novel rotates through four different characters perspectives. There is Eiliana a female private investigator who is dating, Diego, a man working for the head crime boss of Antarctica. Marianella is a woman with a dark secret. She is part human/ part cyborg. And finally, to take it to the other extreme, Sofia is a former pleasure android who is not only gaining sentience, but a desire for revenge against the humans who mistreated her. All of this takes place in the city of New Hope. This domed city, once an optimistic vision of life on Antarctica, has turned dystopian as blackouts and loss of power become more frequent and the city divides between rival fractions.
The novel gets right into it and tension builds quickly as the battle between human and robot, freedom fighter and criminal, raise to a fever pitch and multiple groups continue to increase their grabs for power. Eiliana finds herself torn between the man she loves and her new allies the robots, who she discovers gaining more sentience in the abandoned amusement park. All she wants to do is save enough money to escape onto the mainland, however, she is soon torn between these raging forces and getting enough money might be the least of her problems.
Clarke carves out interesting characters. She does a fantastic job mixing the mind of androids with the conflicting motivations of humanity. Each of the four characters she explores in this novel are innovative and unique, however, I think Eiliana and the choices she must make to battle through these conflicts is the one I found the most compelling. This novel also packs a good deal of action, along with its espionage, and Machiavellian plotting.
I find few problems with this novel. It might have been interesting to explore a little bit more about how a robot brain develops higher functioning and perhaps the author expected us to grasp certain aspects of New Hope quite quickly. Some readers could get a little confused, but this did not happen to me.
If you like science fiction, this is a must grab. I really enjoyed this book. It was a pleasant surprise and helped me get back into the swing of picking up my kids at school every day. I think you would enjoy it too.