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Ice Song Paperback – May 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345508815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508812
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,228,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kasai's strikingly original but uneven debut posits a world where DNA has gone wild, producing Traders with amazing abilities and somatics with a mix of animal and human genes. Sorykah Minuit, a gender-switching Trader, arrives in the dirty, dangerous polar town of Ostara to meet her twin children and their nursemaid. She encounters an octopus-woman who tells her the children have been abducted by the Trader-torturing Collector. Passages of stunning imagery veer abruptly into purple prose as Sorykah heads into the perilous, icy wilderness, only to pause her maternal quest for an extended romp at an isolated pleasure-house. After a brush with death, she abruptly becomes a man with no memory of female life. Kasai's imaginative reach exceeds her grasp, and she squeezes in numerous intriguing ideas that languish only partially explored. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Somewhere, somewhen, human DNA mutates radically. Some humans, called somatics, develop wings, fur, or other physical traits of animals. Others, like Soryk/Sorykah, are "traders," humans with the ability to shift back and forth, physically and emotionally, between sexes. Objects of curiosity and scorn, somatics and traders hide their mutations to blend into "normal" human society. Far in the wilderness, however, lives a researcher obsessed with finding a way to reverse the mutations, and he has the money and the power to pursue his goal ruthlessly. When he kidnaps Sorykah's twin infants, who are also traders, to use in one of his brutal vivisectionist experiments, she sets out to rescue them and to destroy him and his laboratory. The journey takes Sorykah/Soryk from barren ice fields to an underground city of somatics, and on to a pleasure palace beyond the sea. To succeed in rescuing the children, Sorykah and Soryk must learn to live as a single person rather than as two individuals inhabiting the same body. Told in a quiet, sometimes almost dreamlike style reminiscent of fairy tales (though at times disturbing ones), Ice Song will appeal to teens interested in questions of identity and difference.—Sandy Schmitz, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of the fantasy novel "Ice Song" and its sequel "Tattoo." A native of Denver, Colorado, Kirsten has lived on both coasts and spent time in the Netherlands, Greece and the UK. She resides in California with her family and is writing further adventures of her gender-swapping, single mom heroine and the half-human denizens of the frozen Sigue. Visit her at Facebook.com/kirstenimanikasai or www.icesong.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch on May 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sorykah Minuit is an ice miner, an engineer and a doctor of ecology. She is also a Trader. A Trader is a shifter. She can turn into a man, Soryk. But when either shifts into the other, memories are shared.

Sorykah gave birth to twins six or seven months ago. The girl's name is Ayeda. The boy's name is Leander. The children inherited the Trader ability. In a world where somatics (human hybrids with mixed genetics and strange deformities) roam, Sorykah tries to keep their Trader abilities secret. Work takes her away from her children for a bit of time, but their nanny, Nels, cares for them in her absence. Nels is the only one who knows the children are Traders. But when Nels and the twins do not show up at the train station to meet her, Sorykah fears the worse. It soon becomes apparent that the twins and their nanny have been abducted by Matuk the Collector, an egomaniacal sadist with a large somatic zoo within his fortress. Stories abound of the horrible cruelties and experiments Matuk does to those in his collection. Sorykah/Soryk must cross icy wastes and a primeval forest filled with unimaginable dangers in hopes of locating and rescuing Nels and the twins.

*** THREE STARS! Sorykah/Soryk meets many interesting characters during the adventure, each more unique than the last, and those encounters seems to be the best parts of the story. The Trader ability is a wonderful idea and the plot is sound; however, the story does not seem to flow smoothly. Of course, that is only in my opinion. The male alter-ego does not have as much time in the spot light as I would have liked either. Though this is a stand-alone story, I sincerely hope that the author will write more adventures featuring somatics and Traders, even if not with these same characters. Kasai's fantasy world is just too rich and fascinating for only one visit. ***

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
On the surface Ice Song is about a mother (Sorykah) in search of her kidnapped infant twins and that story definitely defines the arc of the novel. On a deeper level we have a harshly realistic description of fearing the other. On a third level we have a family drama-A wealthy family that manages to meddle in the affairs of almost every other character in the story. The 2nd and 3rd levels are what really stick with me after reading the book.

There's a lack of consistency with respect to point of view. In general point of view changes with a chapter or section break, but there are occasional bouts of hopping from point of view character to point of view character in rapid succession. This is a bit jarring since every character sees the world drastically different. Overall, this and occasional lapses into future tense manage to add to the lyrical prose instead of taking away from it.

For a first novel, I'm impressed with Ice Song. A rich world has been created. In the end, I was quite impressed by how it grew in my mind in the wake of Sorykah's quest. Heavy and dark, this is unquestionably a good novel, but not one that everyone will find easy to get through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
My wife recommended this book and I'm glad I took her up on it. This book takes you places you have never been before. Wonderful, compelling story that takes place in a richly created magical world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terena Scott on November 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a completely original fantasy written by a talented new writer, two things which make me excited. Kirsten Imani Kasai has created a beautiful, dangerous, multi-layered, world and a protagonist who is strong, yet completely believable, even as she changes genders. This is the story of a mother trying to rescue her kidnapped children from a mad man known as "The Collector," a woman who is not a superhero, but who faces incredible dangers and trials as she crosses the frozen land. She is also a Trader, a person who changes genders, which makes the world doubly dangerous for her as she tries to hide her secret. To save her children, Sorykah must learn to embrace her male half, Soryk, and integrate the two parts of herself, so that she can face the demons in the Marble Castle where her two babies are held captive.

Discovering a new writer is exciting, doubly so because Kirstin Imani Kasai is writing the sequel right now. I can't wait.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on July 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've never been a big science fiction reader, and so it took me far too long to get around to reading Kirsten Imani Kasai's _Ice Song_. Its beautiful cover would draw my eye again and again in the bookstore, then I'd flip it over to read the back cover copy and think, "Oh. Submarines. Mutations. This is that science fiction book again." Now that I've read it, I wish the blurb had contained one brief sentence that would have had me snapping up the book right away: "This is a fairy tale."

Sure, the setting is an environmentally ravaged future, and the part-human, part-animal beings who populate it are made that way by mutation rather than by sorcery, but make no mistake: this is a fairy tale. Just as the key to Sorykah's quest is hidden within a fairy tale told to her along the way, I believe that the key to enjoying _Ice Song_ lies in approaching it *as* a fairy tale.

Sorykah does work on an ice-drilling submarine, but we're not very far into the story when she leaves her job and everything else behind; her twin babies have been kidnapped by a sinister madman and Sorykah must go rescue them. Like the heroines of such stories as "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon" and "The Snow Queen," Sorykah sets out into the wilds to find her loved ones, with only her dogged determination and the often-quirky help of a few strangers on her side.

Oh, and there's one more problem. Sorykah is a Trader, which means she occasionally switches genders and becomes a man named Soryk. Some Traders can switch easily and at will, but for Sorykah, the change is usually brought about by intense stress, and she and Soryk have separate memories.
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