This book has been on my radar since I first heard about it months ago. It seemed like it was going to be the perfect blend of science fiction, family relationships, and a whole bunch of twists that were sure to just blow me out of the water. While this book had all of those things, it also had something I didn’t expect – a main character that I felt like I could really relate to. Determined, protective, and loving, Lorna made the perfect big sister to Callie.
“Stories are pretty great if you don’t mind crying sometimes.”
Years ago, Lorna’s father brought home an orphan that he and several other members of his team found in the arctic – a group of infants afloat on a boat in the middle of the water in the freezing cold. No parents, no older children – just the infants. The team brought the orphans home, and assigned them to be integrated into families of those that found them. Now those orphans are grown, and while they are non lingual and aren’t able to communicate, Callie, the orphan that Lorna’s father brought home, has become a true member of the family, especially to Lorna. She loves her sister. She protects her, she takes care of her, and she tries to communicate and understand her to the best of her ability.
“You’d think after sixteen years of Callie not talking, I’d be used to it by now. You’d think after sixteen years of having a sister who can’t speak, or read, or even understand any language at all, nights like these wouldn’t bother me so much. That the way Callie is wouldn’t keep surprising me day after day.”
When Callie has fits and needs to go to the hospital to see Jane, the doctor that looks after the orphans, Lorna takes her. While this happens often, it is the night of one particular fit that Lorna notices Stan, the brother of another one of the orphans, or Icelings, as Lorna calls them, is at the hospital, as well. Ted, his brother, is also in for having a fit. She hasn’t really talked to Stan before, but Lorna approaches him and tries to talk to him to make friends – the two exchange numbers so that they can talk about their siblings in case they need to get things off their chest if anything weird happens.
When Lorna’s parents tell her that they are going to the Galapagos for work, and that they are leaving Callie in Lorna’s responsible and capable hands, the first thing Lorna’s friend and (kind of) boyfriend do is throw a party. During said party, when Lorna checks on Callie out in her greenhouse (the Icelings are all required to have a greenhouse), Lorna sees that Callie has created a very intricate model display of an island using grass and plants. When she texts Stan about it, it appears that his brother Ted has also created a model of an island – the same island at the same time. When Stan comes over and brings Ted and his island with him, Ted and Callie hop in the backseat of the car with their islands – an obvious demand that Stan and Lorna take them somewhere…but where? To their island, where they were born?
On their trip to the island, Lorna and Stan come across some very weird things, and they have a hard time believing that they are actually taking them up north where they came from. But Lorna knows she is doing the right thing for Callie, and at the Icelings’ insistence, they continue their travels. When they finally reach where they need to be, a shocking twist has Lorna and Stan questioning everything that they have ever been told.
Iceling is a truly original and unique book, and for that, I have to say I was completely in love with the book. Once I started reading it, I felt like I simply had to finish it, and I just kept reading. The writing style really pulled me in and wrapped me up in the story – I had to see what was going on with the Icelings and what waited for them when they reached their island. It had no shortage of surprises, and in fact I really did find myself on the edge of my seat toward the last third of the book. The story surrounding the Icelings truly was something incredible, and if you are a fan of science fiction, you have to read this book.
Stan and Lorna were the two main characters in this book, and most of the book is the two of them taking the Icelings and driving them back to the island they were born on. But the twist wasn’t something I saw coming at all…in fact, there are several, and they’re all quite shocking.
Lorna’s character is deeply emotional and cares a great deal for her sister. She’s attached to her and wants the best for her, even if that means taking her where she wants to go – despite the wishes of their parents. While Callie cannot understand language, it’s clear that the two of them still had a bond, and it was even more interesting to see the way that Callie and Ted acted around each other. When they are driving up north and come across many other kids taking their Icelings up north as well, they learn more about each other.
The ending of this book, though…ugh. I hate cliffhangers, and this one was one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever come across. I’m so glad that there is going to be a sequel to this in the future, because I don’t know how else I could possibly deal with and ending like that. One thing is for sure, though – the author of this book knows how to draw in readers and then keep them wanting more.