An absolutely awesome novel. I’m a huge fan of Clarke’s YA titles and this, her first foray into adult SF/F (as far as I know), knocked my socks off. I was trying to think of things to compare it to, and Blade Runner immediately came to mind, as did the Bioshock series of video games (especially the abandoned amusement park bits). Action-packed, character-driven, and featuring some really intriguing world-building, “Our Lady of the Ice” is the next level in artificial intelligence-themed novels, which have been all the rage for the last few years. Clarke has written what is essentially more readable, more enjoyable Philip K Dick. This was told through four point-of-view characters, all compelling in their own ways, all flawed, all sympathetic. It was interesting to see how the four converged, came into conflict, and sometimes supported each other. There was a lot of female friendship here, which I’m a huge fan of seeing in the genre, and plenty of women looking out for themselves and each other in rough situations. I also found the setting wholly original. Hope City (an alternate world expansion on the real-world Esperanza Base) is a city in Antarctica, protected by domes, controlled by politicians and gangsters, and maintained by robots. If I had to label this, I would call it dieselpunk retrofuturistic neo-noir/sci-fi, but that’s a mouthful, so I’ll stick with “absolutely amazing”.

~Allison Senecal