Review Detail

Nature vs. science
Overall rating
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Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The plot features two characters as a highly contagious, deadly disease has killed everyone in Mani’s village. She’s been told the scientists at the nearby laboratory are evil and she should never go near them. However, circumstances drive her to desperation and Mani finds herself inside the building searching for food. She meets a scientist and discovers they have something strange in common. They are both infected with the illness but they haven’t died, yet. They soon form a partnership and venture off on an adventure to find help.
Mani inherits a wooden mask from her mother that transports her to a frigid world where she meets a polar bear guardian guide. Ooshaka offers her counsel although many of Mani’s questions go unanswered. Her mother never taught Mani about the mask so readers are left to wonder what other secrets it might hold. This relic is a spiritual connection to memories of Mani’s indigenous ancestors. Mani also meets Crow who offers more information about her situation but still causes leaves her with more uncertainties.
The plot presents an interesting blend of science and faith as the characters strive to survive an apocalyptic melting of the ice caps. Leo and Mani encounter evidence of flooding, devastation, and death while trying to make their way to other scientists at the Ark. They find red bones of those who’ve died from the disease and Leo’s map is inaccurate due to lands that are now underwater. Unmoving, broken cars sit where they finally stop, and random, desperate survivors are willing to kill to stay alive. The disease makes everyone paranoid and anybody showing symptoms is seen as a threat. Mani faces danger from every stranger due to their terrifying fear of the illness.
What didn’t work as well:
The introduction of Mani’s character seems to imply she’s somewhat unaware of how things work in the modern world but she doesn’t seem as naïve as the story moves along. Her background story is a bit fuzzy. However, the epilogue reveals more about Mani’s origins so the sequel should have more clarity.
The final verdict:
This book establishes the scenario for the series so readers should be prepared to continue with the second book. The last fourth of the book reveals the underlying conflict with some twists as nature and humanity try to strike a balance. Overall, I recommend this inventive story for your reading pleasure.
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