[Review] The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova
Author: J. M. Sidorova
Publisher: Scribner, A Division of Simon and Schuster, In. July 23, 2013
Theme: Russian man immune to cold.
Source: Free copy from Scribner for the purpose of review
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
In St. Petersburg, Russia, twin boys are born to parents that were imprisoned in an ice palace in 1740. The boys are named Andrei and Alexander. Andrei is the older, bolder, goal-oriented brother. His heart is set on being a Lieb Guard. Alexander had followed his brother at every point in their growing up years, oddly enough it is Alexander that passes up his brother in height and achievement in the guard. While still a youth Alexander discovers his "gift." "Arousal, rage, fear, even joy," his body's response is cold. His embrace and kiss, is like ice. His body's reaction or non-reaction to cold helps him in the wintry weather of Russia, but it does not help him in intimacy. In despondence over his condition he joins an Arctic expedition.
Opening paragraph: "I was born of cold copulation, white-fleshed and waxy like a crust of fat on beef broth left outside in winter." Page 1.
When I began reading this story I found it fascinating. The plot and main character made for an absorbing read.
The book itself, the inside cover is beautiful with illustrated maps in icy blues.
The first 100 pages I was actively involved in Alexander's story. Then mid-point I became a bit lost in understanding what was going on, I had to back up and re-read several times. The later part of the book accelerates in time, this added to my being more lost, but I managed to hang on.
In some ways I loved this story, it is a story I'd not heard before.
It is written with imagination and creativity.
It is a travel adventure.
A story of self-discovery.
It is historical.
It gave me a better understanding of Russia during the 18th century.
The authors writing style is beautiful, the descriptive details moved me emotionally as poetry does.
What I did not like was the main character answers for the reader. He is the narrator, but I did not enjoy him answering for me.
I also did not like having to re-read certain passages, because I did not know what was going on or thought I'd missed something along the way and had to retrace the chapter.
I felt the author could have drew me in a bit more to Alexander. He shared his story with me, yet I did not feel completely attached to him, nor feel an investment in his outcome. I cared, but not much. Maybe Alexander's iciness set the temperature for the atmosphere of the story.
Article about the real Ice House that was built in St. Petersburg:
Link @ Scribner:
A free 60 page eBook excerpt for download:
Author page @ Scribner:
Link @ Amazon for book: