Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tanner, Lian. Icebreaker.

Tanner, Lian.  Icebreaker.    Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends    2015  294p  $16.99  ISBN 978-1-250-05216-2  ms/hs  Conflict  E-BN   

The machinists have banded together and set sail on an icebreaker that has trolled the Antarctic for over 300 years.  Their enemies on land, the Anti-Machinists, have destroyed every piece of machinery and banned knowledge.  When a stranger is spotted on an iceberg, he is brought aboard.  Internal strife on the ship ensues, as the caste system of engineers, cooks, and officers bands together to kill the boy they do not trust.  Petrel, who is considered a nothing since she belongs to no caste, aids the stranger in hiding.  

This novel raises questions about how people interact and what drives them.  Exciting adventure, peril, and ultimately a battle with the Anti-Machinists propel this novel, which over time reveals the history of the icebreaker, called “the Oyster, its inhabitants, and why they are at sea. Finding the captain of the Oyster, who hasn’t been seen for hundreds of years, becomes the perilous mission of Petrel, Fin and Dolph.  The book ends on an upbeat note, only to be followed by the first chapter of the second book in the trilogy, which immediately puts the three young people in peril again, this time on land.  The setting in the Antarctic is both breathtaking and fearsome.  The ship’s daily routine and environment as well as the characters, including the rats, are so well detailed that readers can envision the ship and feel the character’s emotions.

Summary: An icebreaker has been at sea for over 300 years after a war between anti-machinists and machinists.  The young people on the ship become the leaders when a stranger is lifted off an iceberg onto the ship. Exciting adventure, thought provoking. Gr 5-8.     

Maritime adventure-Fiction, Science fiction, Caste System-Fiction

--Lois McNicol

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