Title: The Ice
Author: Laline Paull
Page Count/Review Word Count: 374
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
This book was interesting because it took a different approach to structure and storytelling. Most of the plot follows the aftermath of the tragic death of a young environmentalist, and the ensuing enquiry in which they try to establish the truth. That means that the critical incident happened before the story even starts, which means that all of the action is effectively set in the denouement.
To counter this, the author uses flashbacks and jumps backwards and forwards in time, which can be disconcerting from time to time but which works quite well. True, it’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what’s going on, but it’s still enjoyable and it actually encourages your mind to put the pieces together and to slowly discover the truth for yourself.
A good chunk of the story takes place against the backdrop of Svalbard, where a wealthy businessman has teamed up with his friend, an environmentalist, to purchase some land. Only all sorts of political interests start to get involved, and many of the characters are forced to do things that they otherwise might not have done. It’s a novel of intrigue, then, and it raises some important questions about the future of our world if we continue to abuse the planet in the way that we do.
The writing was pretty good, although it felt too flowery for me from time to time, and I liked the illustrations and the quotes at the starts of each of the sections. I’d say that it’s probably not suited to everyone, but if you like to read political thrillers and stuff that will engage your brain and push you to guess what the truth is, it’s worth a go. There’s a twist at the end, of course, but I didn’t guess what it was – in fact, I suspected something else entirely.
The only other thing to mention is the cover, which is gorgeous. Of course, I’ve got an advance copy and so the cover might change before you get your hands on it. But still!