Twice-orphaned Sylvi has chipped out a niche for herself on Layce, an island cursed by eternal winter. Alone in her truck, she takes comfort in two things: the solitude of the roads and the favor of Winter, an icy spirit who has protected her since she was a child. But when her best friend, Lenore, runs off with the rebels, she finds herself making a haul too late in the season for a smuggler whom she wouldn’t normally work with, the infamous Mars Dresden. Alongside his team—Hyla, a giant warrior woman, and Kyn, a boy with skin like stone—Sylvi will do whatever it takes to save her friend. But when the time comes, she’ll will have to choose: safety, anonymity, and the favor of Winter—or the future of the island that she calls home.
I was drawn to this book. I love winter books and books with cold climates; this book had both so I was instantly on board. But it also sounded fascinating. Trucking, friendships, an icy spirit, and rebels. I was very, very eager to read it! Trigger warnings: sexual assault, blood, gore
I really, really hate saying I didn’t really love a book. And I really, really hate saying that I didn’t love this one. I don’t think it’s a bad book, I just think a whole lot of aspects didn’t work for me.
Starting off with the world, it’s everything that the synopsis promises. It’s icy and it’s white and it’s freezing. But so much of it is just thrown at you. I felt like there was no exposition and terms were just introduced like you already knew what they were. I found myself confused about who was who and where was where. Even the things that weren’t fantasy, like trucking. I had such a hard time figuring out what was supposed to be happening because I don’t quite now the layout of a truck or how to drive one. I know it’s such a simple thing, but I would have liked more background on it.
Eventually, I was able to get a bit of a clearer picture, but I just feel like I missed a lot of it. This made it a bit hard to get into the book and be invested in everything that was happening. It was hard to picture the scenery and really orientate myself with what was happening.
I was so close to falling in love with the characters. They are right there, but I couldn’t quite fall completely in love with them. I think how the emotional development played out is a big part of why. I felt like Slyvi’s development was put all at the very end. There was a chance for a really gradual, really amazing change to happen within her, but I felt like the crux of things was revealed at the very end. It was so frustrating to me because it felt like it was used as a plot twist. I don’t get why it wasn’t spread out throughout the book. Maybe I just missed it. Still, I was so frustrated because she’s a great character. She’s fierce, strong, protective, and incredibly badass. But her emotional turmoil isn’t addressed enough.
I liked the other characters the same way as Slyvi. Hyla was amazing. I love giant warrior women. Mars surprised me. Some of the best lines in the book was the dialogue between him and Slyvi (and the reason for that makes it all the better) and I ended up really liking him. Kyn was alright. He was sweet, but I felt like he was such a YA love interest. I felt like he could have been so much more, could have had his own story, and could have opened up a part of the world a whole lot, but he felt like just the love interest.
The ice spirit was another thing that surprised me. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think I like it’s idea, but I’m not sure how I liked what it actually did. While I feel like some things happened too fast, I feel like the ice spirit plotline happened too gradually. I wanted more. I feel like if the plot really delved into this spirit, the book would have become darker and more chilling. It’s a fascinating thing, but I’m just not sure how I feel about how it was done.
There are things I liked about this world. The Shiv, people carved from rock, were so cool. The Desolation, a enormous stretch of ice that buried thousands of people, was haunting and I was completely enamored with it.
All in all, I think this book just wasn’t for me. But, I do think other people have the potential to fall in love with it! So, I urge you to check it out if it sounds like something you’d enjoy!
Thank you for reading!