01/07/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 372 page enlarged paperback. Price: $15.00 (US), $17.50 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50881-2.
check out website: www.delreybooks.com , www.icesong.com and www.redroom.com/author/kirsten-imani-kasai
'Ice Song' is reasonably straight-forward. A trader is someone who can change sexes and from the looks of this one, Sorykah Minuit, has a split-personality as her male form, Soryk, doesn't share her memories. Most of the time its Sorykah in ascendance, especially after she's just had twins, who are abducted and we follow Sorykah as she seeks to recover them. According to the back cover, the abductor is intent on conducting experiments on them although I have to confess it gets swamp in the prose.
For the want of a better description, author Kirsten Imanikasai writes detailed descriptive purple prose. It's like reading a general genre novel where you're supposed to like the turn of phrase more than what is actually going on. Intellectual snobs would love this. Unfortunately, in a Science Fiction novel there is a greater dependency on ideas to propel the plot along. Here, it becomes so much like padding. Imanikasai demonstrates a lot of tactility in describing what she sees but considering that parts of the story in the Arctic, the cold gets barely mentioned. Call me old-fashioned, but I think the intense cold would be something that would affect anything I was describing in such a situation. The prose hides any emotional content as you end up concentrating on the words rather than the feelings of the characters.
Whether 'Ice Song' will catch the word-lovers amongst the general readers is debatable but I can't see SF fans getting a taste for this type of book.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA