WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Ice Bound is based in 2034 on the post-apocalyptic earth – a new world, where only faint traces of the old world remain and the survivors of the apocalypse fight the deteriorating cold every day. The temperature of the earth is dropping – Man is fighting for resources, for the means to survive in this post-apocalyptic state of the planet, which dictates the survival of the fittest. A perfect set up for a modern-day dystopian fiction!
The plot looks at a typical sequence of events that brings the protagonists and the antagonists to a much-awaited face off. In summary, it follows the journey of James Cook, a resident of the Mines area of the New World and his friends David, Meg and Ely, as they strive to look for James’ missing father. As they stumble upon clues to find their father, they also find themselves questioning how much longer they have on this planet.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of dystopian fictions. They somehow fail to keep me glued to the story and often I get too lost in the technicalities to enjoy the story. However, despite this, I’ve found myself to be quite fond of a choice of such novels. With this in mind, I’ve always believed that a dystopian novel will really meet that crazy, amazing parameter only if it appeals to a general demographic of readers, even those who are not particularly fond of the genre. Ice Bound, did that to a good extent.
The strange irony that I’d like to point out first was the contradiction of pace in this story. A dystopian fiction works with a whole new universe or at least a tweaked one from the one we know. Which is why they usually give a lot of details and indulge in technical knowledge. On one hand, these details are necessary to really understand what’s happening, but on the other, too much of it becomes somewhat of a drab. Ice Bound tended to do both at certain points. In the very beginning, I struggled to imagine the nitty-gritty of the new world because of the lack of details and the fast pace – but a few chapters later, it picked up the pace just fine, this time volunteering way too much technical information. It put too much emphasis on information like a car’s detailed working, how a place looked, technical information about an aeroplane, etc. While these factors are important to propel imagination, for me, it really just took away from the more exciting parts of the plot! I’d rather read what the characters do after they get to their destination than read about the features of the amazing automobile that they get there in. These are small things, of course, but often they can put a reader off.
The characters in Ice Bound are from all around the world and based mainly in North America. They’re all English speaking characters, but the dialogues between these characters are painfully unrealistic at points. It’s hard to imagine these characters actually saying these dialogues. In a regular dialogue between two people, there are often contractions and a swift use of slang. The dialogue, at times, was much too mechanical for its own good. I do wish the dialogues had been better, more characteristic of the plot. Talking about the characters, it must be noted that the author describes the relationships between the characters perfectly: the flirty-yet-good natured relationship between two friends, a conflicted but affectionate relationship between a character and his parent, the wrath that raged between two sides of the new world. The characters were written very well, and there was just the right amount of emotion to back them up in their stories.
I won’t spoil anything for you because the climax really takes turns that you wouldn’t expect initially. In dystopian fictions, I like the climax the best, because it brings the story to an exciting close. And while the climax of this story was exciting, I genuinely enjoyed the other parts as well. It wasn’t boringly predictable – in fact, the author kept the chapters short and crisp and ended each chapter with an exciting cliffhanger of sorts. That’s what will keep you leafing through the book. Ice Bound has its flaws – and for someone who doesn’t like science fiction or dystopian fiction, it won’t be your favourite book – but when a book has the pace and brilliance in thought as this once, you often fly through it fast enough to not notice the flaws in the first place.
The plot was well thought out, intricate, interesting – and the writing does justice to it. Small hindrances may result in a frustrated heave or two, the slow parts may be a bore. But pick up the book and it will pick up the pace. A read worth the dystopian genre and a read worth your while.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy at the link below