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Monday, October 23, 2017

Icebreaker Introduces Unique, Compelling Dystopian World

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been 300 years since the Oyster, a rusted icebreaker, set sail.  After three centuries on the sea, no one remembers why the ship left land, why it's still afloat, or what they're all doing living on top of each other in a glorified tin can.  All the passengers know is that they belong to one of three tribes—the officers who make up the Braid and live on the upper deck; those who dwell in Dufftown on the middle decks; and the engineers who occupy the bottom decks known as Grease Alley.  Although each tribe performs certain functions that keep their floating home functional, the groups do not intermix.  In fact, the fighting between them has escalated to a point where all-out war seems likely in the very near future.

Unlike the Oyster's other passengers, 12-year-old Petrel does not belong to a tribe.  Her mixed parentage makes her an outcast who is unwelcome on any part of the ship.  The orphan survives by staying invisible, speaking only to the two rats who are the sole pals she has in the world.  When a strange, frozen boy is pulled onto the Oyster, Petrel wonders if she's finally been given a chance to make a real, human friend.  What Petrel doesn't realize is that the boy has his own goal, a mission that could destroy the Oyster and everyone on it ... 

I saw Icebreaker, a middle grade novel by Australian author Lian Tanner, on a list somewhere on the Web of the best dystopian novels of all timeWhile I'm not sure I agree with that designation, I did enjoy this action/adventure story about a plucky girl who triumphs over an inhospitable world by carving out a life for herself with tenacity, courage, and heart.  It's a unique tale, strange, but also exciting and compelling.  In the end, I didn't love Icebreaker enough to continue with the series.  Still, I found it an entertaining read.

(Readalikes: the Icebeaker world reminds me of the one in Wool by Hugh Howey)


If this were a novel, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. 300 years in a boat without ever setting foot on land? Could they even survive 3 years that way? The premise makes me a little skeptical, but it sounds like Petrel might make it worth trying. :)

  2. Yeah, I agree with Lark. I’m thinking this one sounds too far fetched. Where do they get their food? How could people trapped on a boat for 300 years actually stay separated that way? I just don’t buy it.

  3. So, I read this one way back in May and I honestly don't remember all the ins and outs of how the ship worked. It definitely required a willing suspension of disbelief, but there were explanations for the questions you both are asking. I just can't remember what they were ... my memory ain't what it used to be!


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