Book Review: Icefall by Stephanie Gunn

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Title: Icefall
Author: Stephanie Gunn
Publication Date: October 31st 2018

Synopsis: "The Mountain on the planet of Icefall holds the mystery to a lost colony and an irresistible, fatal allure to the climbers of the universe. Maggie is determined to be the first to make the summit. Aisha, injured in a climbing incident herself, has always supported her wife, trusting Maggie would always return from her adventures. But no one ever returns from the Mountain."

My thoughts: Wow. I admit, I was a little trepidatious going in to this one, as it sounded pretty darn ominous. And it is. (I'm sure you can hear that I paused to chuckle just now.) However, the way Gunn writes her characters and the way she creates the world just had me hooked from the beginning.

First of all, let's talk characters. I have had to DNF a few books lately where I wasn't connecting to the characters at all - they felt bland, one-dimensional, and kind of like slightly-touched-up stereotypes at times. Absolutely not so with Gunn's characters - Maggie and Aisha are both interesting, connective, and really make you feel what they have been through, and what they're battling now. Gunn writes this book flashing forward and backwards, which can sometimes be a little confusing, but here it all flows together so beautifully and I found myself wanting more from both the past and the present equally.

Now let's talk about the Mountain. I am not entirely sure how she did it, but Gunn creates such an atmosphere of tension and pull towards the Mountain. It is both terrifying and mysterious, and, along with Aisha, I felt the draw of it all the way through the story - despite my complete aversion to heights and my disinterest in climbing in general. The creepy tone that this creates pervades the whole story just a little, raising the stakes very high and pulling you on through the story, even as you fear what might happen in the next chapter. Perhaps the use of irregular-length chapters contributed to this draw - either way, it is expertly done.

I just want to mention at the end here that this story tugged on my heart-strings. For multiple reasons, I actually identified with Aisha quite a lot, and I found myself feeling almost everything she felt through the story. By the end I was a little teary, I won't lie. This story may be on the shorter side, but it still manages to grab onto you. I have a feeling I will be thinking about this one for a long time to come.

{I received a review ecopy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'Maggie was and is a mountaineer, and I could never ask her to change, not for anything. Not even for me.'

You would like this book if: I'm not even sure whether this fits a 'type', but let me say - scifi elements, love elements, passion-in-life, plus eery darkness? Definitely give this one a go.

Tea to drink while reading this book: A strong black tea, perhaps Yorkshire, made with freshly melted snow off of the Mountain.

Rating:  10/10

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1 comment:

  1. "made with freshly melted snow off of the Mountain". I love you.

    Also, I got the words "trepditatious" (great word btw) and "precipitous" confused, and thought you were making a mountain joke there. Alas!


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