Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ice Land by Betsy Tobin (3/5 stars)

When I started this book I thought it was going to be a really good one. I love mythology, especially Norse mythology. Unfortunately the awkward writing takes away from the fascinating landscape the book is set in.

The book alternates between three viewpoints. The first viewpoint is done in first person and deals with Freya the goddess of beauty. She is on a mission to save the Gods from self-destruction. The second viewpoint is done in third person and deals with Fulla, a young girl on the brink of womanhood who is dealing both with the invasion of Christianity and her looming betrothal. The last viewpoint is from that of Dvalin; also in third person, Dvalin is a half-dwarf who is connected to both Fulla and Freya. Between these viewpoints are small intervals where Ice Land's primary volcano is discussed.

Unfortunately this switching of viewpoints makes for an awkward story. The early passages with Fulla are done in third person with almost no conversation; so there is a lot of she does this, her hand touches this and it is a very awkward read. I agree with previous reviewers that if this book had been written in a completely different style it could have been great. As it is, it is very hard to read. I really had to push through the beginning of the book. The end was a bit better.

Once you get to know the characters, they are engaging. Unfortunately though it takes quite a bit of time for the characters' personalities to show through because of the cumbersome writing style. I am not sure if the book was written as it is to convey primitive culture, but the writing style itself is primitive. All in all this made it hard to enjoy the book.

There were some good things about this book. It was interesting to read about the gods acting and living as normal people. Most of this book was about the characters going about their day to day lives; there wasn't a lot of build up to some spectacular climax. It was also interesting to learn how the volcano affected everyday life; although this wasn't included until the end of the book. The characters were somewhat interesting and engaging and I was rooting for them by the end of the story. The setting of the book was creative and interesting too.

Unfortunately the above mentioned positives were just enough to drag this book into an "it's okay" category from me. I definitely don't feel a need to check out any more of Tobin's books and mostly I am just happen I am done reading it.

No comments:

Post a Comment