Not The Book I Expected, Still Liked It A Lot
4 out of 5 stars
The Ice Lion started off really… different than I expected. I think the opening of the synopsis of “this cli-fi novel” really set my expectations for it to be a completely different story than it ended up being. That being said, I still enjoyed this book. It’s FAR less an actual Cli-Fi book and far more a coming-of-age story.
Now, that I’ve said I both liked and was disappointed in this one – you can see the rating, I enjoyed it more than I didn’t. After I realized that the story was going to be much more about the people and much less about the environment I changed my expectations and started to enjoy the book. This was definitely one of those books that without having the kindle edition (or something to check on) I would have been confused as to what some of the words were. Now that I’m re-reading the synopsis as I write my review I can see some of the words that stuck out throughout the book that I ended up looking up. Zyme (basically uber aggressive algae bloom). Jemen (it was pronounced 2 different ways in the book which was interesting).
So, knowing what specific words were didn’t take away from the story and I mentioned that this was more of a coming-of-age story set in a climate ravaged future. Well, O’Neal Gear NAILS the human element of it. I found the back and forth between Lynx and Quiller to make the story really flow and honestly the way that we got to grow with Lynx was the stand out element to me. I can absolutely tell that O’Neal Gear is an archaeologist and anthropologist. Those elements she absolutely nails. I like that both Lynx and Quiller both have reasons to link certain people to others (trying not to spoil anything) because it shows how close they really are and that they both have incredibly big hearts.
The Ice Lion was one of those books that if I were to sit down and explain it (like start getting into the details or spirit animal and the likes) it would sound weird or I probably wouldn’t do a good enough job explaining it. But if you think about it as a coming-of-age story set in this familiar but not landscape it was really darn good at being that.
Another part of the story that I liked is that in this future society as everything collapsed – it seemed and felt like the survivors went back to the Native American and indigenous people’s way of things (see spirit animals that I mentioned above). But even the names of characters were all things that they saw or knew. Lynx (full name Sick Lynx) is even sent out on a “vision quest” (which as a reader I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a death sentence or not). But… I thought that it was an interesting way to show the future. I’ve read a lot of apocalyptic books and never do they go far enough that we’re back to tribes or naming people based off of traits or things in their surroundings.
Overall, I enjoyed The Ice Lion once I realized it was a post-climate issue book instead of a “this is happening now” sort of book. The pacing was excellent and I ended up listening to it in basically 3 sittings. I’m excited to see that there is at least one more book coming as there wasn’t a cliffhanger that made me angry – but O’Neal Gear left it in a way that I assumed things would be cleared up in at least one more story.
This cli-fi novel from a notable archaeologist and anthropologist explores a frozen future where archaic species struggle to survive an apocalyptic Ice Age
One thousand years in the future, the zyme, a thick blanket of luminous green slime, covers the oceans. Glaciers three-miles-high rise over the continents. The old stories say that when the Jemen, godlike beings from the past, realized their efforts to halt global warming had gone terribly wrong, they made a desperate gamble to save life on earth and recreated species that had survived the worst of the earth’s Ice Ages.
Sixteen-summers-old Lynx and his best friend Quiller are members of the Sealion People – archaic humans known as Denisovans. They live in a world growing colder, a world filled with monstrous predators that hunt them for food. When they flee to a new land, they meet a strange old man who impossibly seems to be the last of the Jemen. He tells Lynx the only way he can save his world is by sacrificing himself to the last true god, a quantum computer named Quancee.
The Ice Lion by Kathleen O'Neal Gear
Narrator: Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Sisi Aisha Johnson
Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 15th 2021
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