Review: Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke


Hardcover, 419 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Saga Press
Source: Publisher

Rich in detail and atmospheric, Our Lady of the Ice is another of a slew novels that explore artificial intelligence in extremely interesting ways. First, the synopsis:

Hope City, Antarctica. The southernmost city in the world, with only a glass dome and a faltering infrastructure to protect its citizens from the freezing, ceaseless winds of the Antarctic wilderness. Within this bell jar four people–some human, some not–will shape the future of the city forever:

Eliana Gomez, a female PI looking for a way to the mainland.

Diego Amitrano, the right-hand man to the gangster who controls the city’s food come winter.

Marianella Luna, an aristocrat with a dangerous secret.

Sofia, an android who has begun to evolve.

But the city is evolving too, and in the heart of the perilous Antarctic winter, factions will clash, dreams will shatter, and that frozen metropolis just might boil over…

If I were to describe this book, I’d say think of a noir movie except set in a dome in Alaska.The scenes are atmospheric, the action intense and the pacing quick. In fact, I rather think it’d make a great movie.

I think Steph will enjoy the setting immensely as did I. There is a sense of separation among the characters from the rest of the world, especially in Eliana who longs for the mainland as she terms it. Living under the dome, they are at the mercy of the authorities who control the electricity because without electricity, there would be no heat and without heat there is no way to survive the cold.

Diego and Eliana have a rocky relationship, him being a mob boss’s bodyguard and her being a private eye. Sometimes their interests are in conflict. (Ha.) Marianella is an interesting character for reasons I won’t give away but I enjoyed the way she crept into the narrative and then owned it. Sofia, on the other hand, gave me pause. I understood her motivations but never have I felt more human than when I read her disdain of the human race. My favourite character is her right hand man…android. He is also an android but he manages to retain the warmth that remains absent in Sofia. What is most interesting in the novel is how the reader is able to see one protagonist from another protagonist’s perspective which in turn affects the way the first protagonist is viewed.

The book will appeal to those who are fans of atmospheric novels full of action and told from multiple perspectives. The novel explores so many interesting themes as in what it means to be human, how people are shaped by their landscapes, relationships and the strength of them. As I said, the novel is rich in detail and you could read it multiple times and get different things out of each reading.  I’m not entirely sure it is a crossover but I think the appeal of the book is down to individual preference–some will like it more than others and perhaps for different reasons.