Under normal circumstances, this would be the part of the My TBR List meme where I review the book that you all chose for me, Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke. There’s only one problem–I’m not done reading it yet! So instead, I’m going to post some of my initial thoughts and impressions.
Our Lady of the Ice is a sci-fi novel that can best be described as Antarctic android noir. It’s set in a futuristic version of Antarctica that was once a marvel of modern technology, but for reasons (*cough* capitalism *cough*), it was largely abandoned and forgotten about. The people who live there are the ones who can’t afford to leave. Antarctica is no longer a tourist destination, the theme park is abandoned, and people work on power plants that generate nuclear power for the mainland, but are stuck with more primitive steam power to fuel the domes that keep out the elements and make civilization possible. The Antarctica we see is one of former opulence that’s been decayed.
It’s against that backdrop that we see the main characters of the story. The point-of-view alternates between characters whose stories are woven together. There’s Eliana, a female PI (unusual in Antarctica), whose new lucrative case pits her against the head of the mob. Her boyfriend Diego works for the mob boss, but Eliana deludes herself that he’s not involved with the violent parts of the underworld because she’s really into him and it’s easier to see him through rose colored glasses. There’s Marianella, a noblewoman with a deep secret. And the android Sofia who is in the process of becoming autonomous of her programming, and longs to free all of the androids the park once employed.
And in the middle of all of their individual stories, there’s a common thread. All is not well in Antarctica, and if left to its own devices, the whole civilization is on the brink of complete ruin. There’s a strong undercurrent of “this is what happens when you put money above people.” And the main characters are just figuring out where they stand and how they got to this point.
I’m only about halfway through the book, but I’m loving it so far. This is a thoughtful and character-driven book. It’s not the kind of book you blow through in a weekend, it’s the kind of book that you savor as you see the pieces fall together and the characters’ stories intersect.
Full review forthcoming.