“Stay the Frost, Watch the Chasm, The Cold is not Alive”
The story’s premise is thus. Dawsyn, a young human adult, lives on what is called Ledge. It is an icy outcrop up high in the mountains. Her tiny village scratches a meager existence from the trees and small game, begging, pleading, and killing their way through life. Life is hard. No one can leave. If you try to go, you have two options. First, you can fall to your death as a victim of the vast chasm that excises her tiny village from everything beyond it. Or as a human sacrifice to the Glacians.
The Glacians are another species that thrives in cold weather, is incredibly strong, flies, and has talons and sharp teeth. From an evolutionary standpoint, they out predate humans by quite a lot. Every season, like clockwork, the Glacians come and steal a member of the town. Why they do this is unknown, it is said that they eat humans and chew on the very bones of townsfolk. However, that’s just chatter; no one in the village knows the true reason for this, and if they do, they aren’t sharing their secrets.
Dawsyn, our story’s protagonist, is alone. Her family, her tribe as it were, has died from various things. Her sister was taken as tribute, her mother is gone, and her grandmother has died from a cough. She is alone, scratching it out, defending her trees and the future warmth they can provide. It isn’t much, but her strength of will sees her through each day. “but her luck has run out. She is chosen and ripped from her icy home, the only world she knows. No one knows what will happen to her on the other side, least of all Dawsyn. Murdered? Enslaved? Worse?Thankfully, the fates align and Dawsyn manages to escape their clutches with the help of a half-Glacian called Ryon.” The question is, who to trust?
While this story is, in many ways a typical trope, two enemies from disparate worlds come together and find something between them; McEwan does quite well with the dialog and the world-building. I like both characters well enough, and the Glacians are an exciting twist on tired fantasy characters. There is most definitely a good level of spice in this book which is all sorts of fun—but not done so in a totally and utterly unbelievable way. Definitely not insta-love here.
I enjoyed this reading experience thoroughly. Is it groundbreaking, not really? But she pounds away typical tropes and makes every line hers in writing. Nothing felt stagnant, the pace was excellent, and one moment flowed through to the next. I found myself staring at the clock at 3 am, wondering where the last four hours went, which is a solid hard win in my book. 5 Stars from a very bleary-eyed reader from staying up to late, and hell yes, I would do it again.
I recommend this book, and I am dying to read the next book.