'Petrel leaned on the rail, watching the ice cave and stamping her feet for warmth. The berg came closer. That's when she saw him. Laid out on the ice like a dead fish, with a scattering of snow covering his face. A boy, where there should have been nothing but the memory of winter. A frozen boy.'
Twelve-year-old Petrel is an outcast, the lowest of the low on the Oyster, an ancient icebreaker that has been following the same course for three hundred years. In that time, the ship's crew has forgotten its original purpose and broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel, whose parents committed such a terrible crime that they were thrown overboard, and their daughter ostracised.
But Petrel is a survivor. She lives in the dark corners of the ship, speaking to no one except two large grey rats, Mister Smoke and Missus Slink. Then a boy is discovered, frozen on an iceberg, and Petrel saves him, hoping he'll be her friend. What she doesn't know is that for the last three hundred years, the Oyster has been guarding a secret. A secret that could change the world.
A secret that the boy has been sent to destroy, along with the ship and everyone on it...
Lian Tanner has been dynamited while scuba diving and arrested while busking. She once spent a week in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, hunting for a Japanese soldier left over from the Second World War. She likes secrets, old bones, and animals that are not what they seem. Nowadays she lives by the beach in southern Tasmania.
Lian's bestselling fantasy series The Keepers is published in the USA, Australia and India, as well as being translated into eleven languages. Her second series, The Hidden, has been published in Australia/New Zealand and North America. Lian's third series, The Rogues, is set in the same world as The Keepers, and has been translated into Spanish.
In 2020 Lian's first picture book 'Ella and the Ocean' (illustrated by Jonathan Bentley) won the NSW Premier's Award for Children's Literature. Her most recent novel, A Clue for Clara (small chook, big crime), won the 2021 Sisters in Crime Davitt Award for Best Children's Crime Novel.
I hugged the book before I read it, and you can be sure I hugged it afterward. Why? Because Lian Tanner has written one of my favorite Juvenile Fiction Series (The Keeper Trilogy) and she did not let me down in Icebreaker.
Tanner creates rather than contrives her characters and their conflicts. It takes reading the novel to realize what I mean by that difference between the creating and the contrivance. The characters experience real, important change, within the boundaries of their personality. You labor alongside them in those pivotal moments.
Icebreaker is not for those who like to anticipate the story and control every outcome. Tanner doesn’t make her adventures easy on the characters, why would she make it easy on the reader? Tanner’s characters earn their stunning heroism and heart. That Petrel would arrive to a transformative state is perhaps expected, but what of the others, and what of the winding series of events that traverse the massive and entangle innards of the Oyster? There are clues to mysteries (Crab) for the reader to guess successfully, but the overall the sensation of honestly not knowing what is coming next is marvelous.
Tanner complicates her otherworldly stories in painfully realistic ways. Both Petrel (aka Nothing Girl) and the strange boy she rescues have internalized the beliefs of their respective adult worlds—and they have to push back for the sake of everyone. Theirs is a violent and devastated world. The different factions are rational outcomes and hauntingly familiar, yet there is a fine and cutting edge of ridiculousness in the situation. So much of the violence is situated in willful ignorance and incredible egoism. Squid is a still, quiet breath of fresh air.
The presence of tribal leaders’ children in the story is notable; especially the handling of daughters (like Squid) as game-changers. The offspring represent the attitudes of their tribes as well as the opportunity for change. The Braids’ leader, Orca’s daughter, is a horrible fascination and was no doubt one of the most tenuous to write. How to convincingly affect change in relatively few pages, and can we trust it going forward? Nothing Girl and the “rescued boy” (who represent two sets of “others” or factions) are convincing actors, posing in alternate versions of themselves, playing the role survival requires of them. The reader is helped to understand that there is a lot at stake when it comes to who and when to trust—and how to prioritize needs and wants. From the get-go, the question of whether a Nothing Girl should have rescued the boy on the ice haunts the story: Is he worth it? Is she?
The harsh setting is fraught with the kind of danger that inspires courage and resourcefulness, though the survivalist Petrel would downplay such aggrandizement of her reality. Yet while she may not find herself exceptional or worthy of manning the story, the reader will see what her few friends do, worth the risk-taking. She is so earnest, so damned determined and requiring of love. She is so damned familiar.
How Tanner manages to make such a horrible moment near the end, the realization of Nothing Girl as Petrel, to be also humorous… She has great storytelling instincts. Tanner is thought-provoking in unexpected ways, reminding the reader always of perspective (that there is always more than one at play).
Icebreaker combines the most appealing traits of juvenile fiction: an exhilarating imagination and an increasingly necessary imperative: empathy.
I wrote this of Museum of Thieves way back when: “Tanner created a cast and setting of delectable proportions for which I found I was ravenous in Museum of Thieves and will sure to be again in City of Lies.” Go ahead and transpose Icebreaker and Sunker’s Deep; Tanner is a satiating must-read.
Of note: Perfect for tracing the pathways of character development over the course of a plot, no “convenient” gaps to leap over here.
if Snowpiercer (the movie) had gone a bit more like this book I think I would have enjoyed it more. as it stands, Icebreaker is, to me, the superior entry in the "method of transportation travels the same path over and over again for hundreds of years and also it's freezing outside and also there's class separation onboard" canon.
I flew through this book, which was a surprise considering that I've been in a reading slump (which means not that I can't read but it takes me years to get through a paragraph because my brain refuses to comprehend the words written on the page). Out of every aspect my favorite thing was the enemies to friends dynamic, which I didn't realize was going to be SUCH a good opportunity for a character's inner turmoil 😋
2022 popsugar reading challenge: A book set on a plane, train, or cruise ship (there's no reason this category should specify "cruise ship" over "ship" so I'm taking a stand and changing it) (if there actually is a reason oops I'm still changing it anyway)
Ice breaker was a very interesting book. I liked it but it wasn't the greatest. The begining of the story was very confusing to me. You don't really know whats going on. As the book gets on its actually pretty good. The book is a sort of survival book. Theres factions and each faction doesn't like each other. The main character isn't in any of these factions so she's a free roamer. In all I would reccomend this book to people who like survival books sort of like the hunger games because the setting and makeup of the book is the same. Its a good book but Ive read way better.
**** Acquired: Barnes and Noble Booksellers Series: The Icebreaker Trilogy (Book 1) Publisher: Square Fish (August 16, 2016) Paperback: 304 Pages Language: English
**** The Story: Twelve-year-old Petrel is an outcast, living on an ancient icebreaker that has been following the same ocean course for three hundred years. The ship's crew has forgotten its original purpose and has broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel, whose parents were thrown overboard for alleged crimes. She has survived by living in the dark corners of the ship, and speaking to no one except two large rats, Mister Smoke and Mrs. Slink. When a boy is discovered on a frozen iceberg, the crew is immediately on alert. Petrel hides him on board, hoping he'll be her friend. What she doesn't know is that the ship guards a secret, held down deep in its belly, and the boy has been sent to seek and destroy it. Icebreaker by Lian Tanner is a lush fantasy and thrilling adventure story, with an unforgettable friendship at its heart.
The Review: Ships and sailors. What provokes more romanticism than those words? The ocean holds a primeval place in the human consciousness. Some say the sea was where our species began. Ships have longed served a critical role in civilization and have long been honored as such. Like a lot of romantic notions, the reality of a life at sea is contradictory to to ideal and thankfully the author of this novel, does not shy away from the harshness of life on board an icebreaker, particularly one thats been sailing for three hundred years.
The Oyster feels like a real place. The author really did their homework on this one. She did a good job at balancing the feel and factual. A common problem faced with writers, particularly fiction, is that they get so bogged down in the details for the sake of realism, that ultimately, they make glaring errors or they sacrifice story for trying to get the nitty-gritty right.
In this book, almost all of the action takes place in Petrel and Fin’s heads. Petrel grew up on the ship and Fin has no idea what anything is, so we rarely see what the nautical terms for the lightbulbs or whatever are and it makes the story more relatable for us landlubbers. The author wisely focused more on how the Oyster feels and sounds rather than the jargon, which is greatly to the book’s benefit. When the characters are out on deck, the reader can feel how cold it is and when they are below they can smell the fish oil.
Remember, they’re writing a story, not a textbook. That may seem like a cop-out but it is the truth.
On the topic of plausibility, another thing that feels real but not a good way is the rise of the Anti-Machinists. Anyone who spends time on the internet can attest that the world is filled with crazy and because of the internet they can get their message to the world more easily than ever.
The ‘selfie generation’ has long been criticized and as it seems like the world becomes more and more unhinged, it is not to big of a stretch to think that people will turn to violence in order to restore some measure of order to their lives and what has longer been criticized than the internet has been machines and technology, with the belief that they diminish humanity. Also considering the anti-science climate that stubbornly sticking around, the Anti-Machinists of Petrel and Fin’s world don’t seem to be so implausible.
As Bookworm gets older…he is finding more and more that these stories of teens and tweens saving the world is becoming more and more ludicrous. As he passes the High School on the way to work sometimes and he sees the students outside, Bookworm thinks: “These twerps ruling a planet or leading an army?” Books like that can be very good if written well but at the same time they do seem like adolescent wish fulfillment.
Be that as it may, the main protagonist Petrel is still a good character even though she does fall into the “orphan outcast” cliche. Seriously, what is it about orphans? Anyway, Petrel (a name for a seabird) is balanced enough that the reader may able to forgive her cliched origin story. She is very strong and very capable but at times she is also vulnerable, there are times when she fails in the book. Of course she gets out of it but the struggle feels authentic.
Fin also had a rough upbringing, raised under what we can assume is a theocratic despotism. The author did a good job in not giving too much away about the inner workings of the Anti-Macninist order. We often don’t think about the exact nature of how the society that we are raised in actually functioned. Not at least until we reach young-adulthood. It also provides hints making the reader more eager for the sequel.
No spoilers but there is also a lingering plot thread that was never fully addressed. It was only briefly mentioned in one or two sentences that could easily be overlooked.
Final Verdict: Icebreaker is a refreshing change in the world of dystopic young adult fiction, for its grounded setting and its heartfelt characterization. While it does have a lot of cliches of the aforementioned
Four petrels out of Five
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This book sucked for me I thought that some of the main characters mistakes could have easily been avoided such as when Petral cut the boy and then the boy became sick they spend about 1 chapter because of this and in the beginning the book is to bland and the whole boat crashes 200 years ago and then they do not explain how I mean come on so this book just sucked also the whole talking to rats like Cinderella and the mice carrying the boy mice are to weak the book was lame and nobody should suffer go pick up hairy potter now that is the book to read.
I received a copy of this title from Allen & Unwin for review.
Ten Second Synopsis: Petrel is the Nothing Girl - shunned by her shipmates because of the actions of her parents when she was a baby. When Petrel spots a boy on the ice and convinces the chief engineer to have him brought aboard, events are set in motion that could change Petrel's life forever - as well as endanger everyone on the ship.
There aren't a great deal of middle grade adventure series set on an Icebreaker ship in a speculative future, so if you haven't read one such already, The Hidden might be just the place to start your middle grade ice-boating adventure reading journey. The story is appropriately icy and atmospheric, with the ship becoming almost a character in itself. The world aboard ship is clearly divided into three social groups - Engineers, Cooks and Officers - and the mechanics of this are deftly explained throughout the story without the need for information dumps to slow things down. The story picks up pace quickly once Petrel spots the boy on the ice and his rescue starts to cause division amongst the crew. Clearly, the boy's presence on an ice floe is highly suspicious, but the crew can't seem to puzzle out his purpose for being there. Petrel, for her part, is keen to gloss over any potential danger because at last she has a companion in a society from which she has been effectively shunned.
Mister Smoke and Missus Slink, a pair of talking rats who may be more than they seem, are a great touch, and I particularly warmed to Squid, the cook's daughter and loyal friend (eventually) to Petrel. There are a lot of surprises in the second half of this book and Tanner has done a wonderful job of creating an insular world ruled by machinery and survival in a hostile environment.
If you are (or know) a fan of tales of a speculative future that are heavy on the atmosphere and feature writing that conjures the story like magic, then I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy of Icebreaker - in any of its jackets.
Ice Breaker is set in a boat which has been set on the same route around the South Pole for the past 200 years. But after two centuries the people of the boat have sperated into three hostile tribes. But Petrel is not part of any tribe and not very well liked by any of them. Then one day a stranger shows up on a iceberg with unkown intentions . Read this amazing book to see what happens next. This book made me feel very excited. I recommend it to anyone who likes action or thriller or a good book. I like how the plot thickens and thickens and twists and turns.
3.5/5 stars You can find all my reviews here *Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I stumbled across this and the cover made me want to know about it, similarly, the synopsis only made me more excited. Petrel is a casteless girl on a ship comprised of three warring tribes. She doesn’t fit in with anybody there but knows the ship better than everyone else from all the time she's spent hiding in the shadows. A young nameless boy gets picked up by the ship, but something’s not right about him. How did he get on the iceberg? Who is he? The crew doesn’t even trust each other, much less this stranger…
I connected with Petrel very quickly. I related with her loneliness and that sense of not belonging. I couldn’t quit reading it and was pleased with where the story took me. I had high hopes that I would like this book, and it did not let me down. It’s a quick read and an entertaining one at that. It’s an interesting Dystopia set on a ship that never stops in a world where people fear machines. The characters are an interesting lot and ones you’ll come to love, because despite their quirks they all love their home.
The intriguing setting was what made me pull this book from the library shelf. After all, one doesn't often come across a book about a 300 year old ship sailing the Arctic Ocean as a common back drop for a Juvenile fiction book, right? I took home to read, and found it not at all disappointing. The characters were very well thought out, deep, and relatable. The plot was incredible and kept me interested to the very end. (Even beyond the end...I need the next boooooooooook!!!!) The setting, as I mentioned before, was amazing. Probably the best part of the book...which shocked me, because usually I judge books heavily by how well their characters are done. Definitely a book I would feel safe recommending to my friends and siblings, and a story worth reading, for sure. :)
In the future, fear and paranoia over artificial intelligence has allowed anti-machine zealots to take over the world. The only place technology is safe is in the deep south, on an ice breaker drifting around Antarctica.
It is a difficult thing to create a unique dystopian storyline and to limit the scope of the story for the a young audience, and to allow for character development. Tasmanian author Lian Tanner has done a great job. Petrel is a resilient and intelligent heroine, with a depth of humanity. The story has genuine intrigue and momentum, and despite a few deaths, is kid-friendly.
The Ice Breaker's crew are divided into three warring tribes and one "nobody". Then they rescue a boy from an iceberg and the real adventure begins. Has a steampunk feel - Ice Breaker is a ship run by engines. The people on the ship pursuing them consider machines to be evil. For ages 9+
In this science fiction/dystopian novel, Anti-Machinists (people who think machines are evil and seek to destroy all technology) have taken over the world, turning it into a dystopian landscape. Presumably. We don’t actually see the world at all in this book—instead, we get to experience the lives of the people on the ship whose purpose is to protect technology—at least, one specific piece of technology, the “sleeping captain.” Cue the Anti-Machinists sending an assassin to find and kill this captain, cue the plot of the story.
My biggest complaint about this book is that everything simply felt rushed—the character development seemed too fast, characters changing minds and sides without much time or effort spent on the part of other characters. The plot was extremely fast-paced and hard to follow at times, and much of the background and set-up involving the Anti-Machinists, the creator of the sleeping captain, and the captain’s purpose is confusing (though perhaps more of it is explained in the sequel books).
However, there are some parts of the book that seem promising, if Tanner goes beyond fanatical villainry painted in broad, obvious strokes. Though there’s no explanation as to how or why the Anti-Machinists got started, the idea of a world without machines is an interesting one. The three divisions of the ship, and the concept of the ship itself, were shown and explained well. And I can hope that Fin still has some lingering conflict and hasn’t just miraculously overcome his entire upbringing/brainwashing. I am not entirely sure that I will read the next book, but there are elements that I liked, so I might pick it up some day.
Icebreaker is a story about Petrel, the "nothing girl" trying to survive the harsh conditions of an ancient ship that's been following the same course for 300 hundred years. During the 300 years the ship's crew has split up into 3 tribes. The cooks, the engineers and the officers. Everyone is in a tribe except for Petrel, and since she isn't in a tribe everyone refers to her as the "nothing girl". Everything is normal until a strange boy is discovered on an iceberg. Is he innocent or does he have a secret to keep? Find out by reading this book.
In my opinion this is a great book. The setting is amazing and I quite enjoyed seeing Petrel tying to survive the harsh environment of the ship. I also enjoyed the element of mystery, like what the boy was doing on the iceberg? How did he get there? And why is Petrel in no tribe? Those questions were always on my mind while reading this book, and it was really fun seeing the answer to those questions.
But one thing that I didn't enjoy was the beginning. While reading the first few chapters I was really confused. Things were happening so quickly and there were a lot of names being said that I didn't remember. For example the names of the officers I didn't remember at all. And also some of the parts in the middle of the book were extremely boring and carried out for so long. But apart from that this was a really good book.
WARNING,THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
The book Icebreaker by Lian Tanner takes place on an old icebreaker ship that has sailed the same route in the South Pole for 300 years. It starts in the eye of Petrel, a twelve year-old outcast who has no place among the three warring tribes who live on the ship. Life is a constant uphill battle for Petrel, from starving to the ship's crew to the cold itself. But one day they find a boy on an iceberg, a living boy who can’t remember anything, even his name. Petrel helps him hoping that she found a friend, but he has been sent, sent with a purpose to destroy something. What none of them know is that they are all part of a much bigger plot.
I think the book is a 9/10 because it is an amazing story with a great plot. In the very beginning of the first chapter it starts right in an action scene were Petrel has to escape some officers. Right after that she comes up into the outside deck and sees a boy floating on an iceberg. In a different section of the book she uses quick thinking to save everyone by taking the sleeping captain and using the sun to reflect light of his face. All in all it is an amazing book that I would recommend.
12-year-old Petrel lives on a segregated ship named the “Oyster”. This ship has been sailing for over 300 years and has no end goal bu to support all of the people living on it. The ship is divided up among 3 levels: the officers, the cooks, and the engineers. Petrel’s parents once lived on the ship with her, but they became known as traitors for lying to the officers. Her uncle is the chief engineer, but she is seen as an outcast. Many folks on the “Oyster” believe her to be a “nothing girl”, and to also be a traitor like her parents. While others are eating, and disputing among colonies, Petrel will be found hunting for scraps and trying to stay hidden. Everyone onboard hates her, with her only two friends being rats. Then, the ship picks up a mysterious boy off a random iceberg. The crew is all sketched out, because they don’t know him, or what he was doing there. I really liked this book, because it was very interesting and fast paced. At times though, it could get a little confusing, because it would skip a couple of hours at a time. I would give this book a 4 star because it was good, but it was a little confusing.
What the book is about: Ice Breaker is about a girl named Petrel who lives on a ship and is shunned by the crew. One day she sees a boy on an iceberg and anonymously notifies the crew. He is taken aboard and a series of mysterious events taken place as the boy tries to find the rumored captain. What I thought of the book: I didn't get why Petrel was treated so poorly until we learn about her parents. I liked how we see the story from the boy's point of view and Petrel's; I don't think I would've gotten the plot if I didn't. I was surprised by one of the character's, Squid, personality. Why I rated it as I did: I liked the book, but it wasn't one I would read again or gush about with a friend. I would recommend the book to someone, bit not be as passionate as if I was recommending Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. Overall it was a pretty good read.
Icebreaker is a very good book and it is the type of book I like because it is a mystery kind of book. I found this book neither hard nor easy to read but it was a great story and i don't regret reading it! This book talks about a ship called the Oyster Sailing and it is set in Antartica. There were many people on the ship. The main character is Petrel, also known as the Nothing Girl or Miss Nothing and everybody hated her parents. She lost the ability to talk to other people but then eventually she started talking to rats and they became her only friends. I really liked how petrel was brave in this story and the mystery that came in the middle of the book. I also liked how the book was organised and how detailed were the actions in every chapter. the dialogs we good and funny at the same time because everybody had a strange name. I would strongly recommend it to the people who like mystery books and action books.
Icebreaker is a compelling story of what might happen if the world really does go haywire and machines are destroyed in the name of saving souls. The inner story is about a 12 year old girl who grows up from 2 years old on with the help of two rats (AI) on in a big ship of unfriendly people. She saves a boy from dying and then he helps her save all the people who were quite unfriendly! The "Icebreaker" is the ship which travels for 300 years around Antartica.....but also refers to the story which helps her "break the ice" so to speak where she becomes important, visible and effective. A coming of Age story which is a part of a series. I enjoyed this read but am uncertain as to whether I want to read the next one.
I had a student recommend this book and I am so glad I picked it up. The plot is unique and weaves together some interesting themes and prejudices. Machines are deemed as evil by certain groups so an inventor puts his mechanical creation on a boat and it is supposed to be safe until the rage against machines die. 300 years later the boat is falling apart and has evolved and there are different groups/classes. The narrators are a girl called the Nothing Girl because she is not welcome in any group and a nameless boy bent on destruction. Together, they have to save the ship. I had a hard time putting it down. There is some violence and no swears. Students who like adventure or survival stories will enjoy this read. 6th grade and up.
Icebreaker by Lian Tanner is the first in the Icebreaker trilogy. The reading value is 5.3 MG and the lexile value is 720L. The book is about an outcast on an ancient ship that's been following the same course for 300 years.
Petrel, a 12yr girl and outcast lives on a ship with no friends except for two rats. She had nothing to do in life until a frozen boy was found on an iceberg. The book develops by having dialogue and what Petrel thinks to explain the book
I don’t personally like the book and it seems the majority of the reviews say the same. First of all the book isn’t written particularly well and doesn’t give context for some tricky words. The book also is just boring, it's just really an introduction to the trilogy.
I really enjoyed the first two books of this series and am looking forward to the third. No other series I've read this year has been as compelling to me. The Oyster, an ancient ice breaker, has been plying the same waters for 300 years and in that time, 3 factions have emerged. A boy is found frozen on an iceberg and Petrel, an ostracized orphan, nurses him back to health. There are secrets within secrets, including a secret that could shake the whole world; and two talking rats who have befriended Pestrel and helped her to survive.
This is an interesting dystopia set in a time when a fanatical bunch of ignorant (and power hungry) people called the Anti-Machinists have convinced the world that all of their troubles are caused by machines. So, their goal is to send civilization back to the dark ages. (Man, but I hate fanatics of all types, ancient AND modern! lol). But the characters are well developed and the world building is excellent. I blew through this first book and am now working on the second one. Highly recommend for middle school sci-fi readers.
I really liked the opening of this story. The ship was a marvel of technology, but after 3 centuries, the descriptions of the fixes, patches, and crew makeup felt very realistic. I liked that the realism was scattered throughout the book in descriptions of diet, clothing, etc; it was reminiscent of Verne's 20,000 Leagues in that everything they used had to come from the sea.
Overall, the story was novel, the characters realistic and the plot carried on a decent pace. I just wasn't blown away by the book as a whole. I liked it enough to continue reading in the series, though.
Another exciting start to a triology by Lian Tanner, the Australian author of the Keepers trilogy (Museum of Thieves) for the young reader & the young at heart. Plenty of action, sympathetic characters & well researched background. I've been looking forward to trying this out (it's not easy to find in the bookstores though you can find online) & was not disappointed. An excellent read to share with your young reader with enough to keep the more mature reader engaged. I like her books!
Icebreaker is set in a future dystopia where all technology is feared. Petrel is living on a ship that has been sailing around for more than 300 years, keeping a technological secret at its heart for all that time. Now, things are happening and worlds are colliding and readers are left wondering who will survive. All in all, this is a decent read with well-rounded characters and an interesting premise.
In this book the main character Petrel is hated by everyone on the boat she is living on because her parents did something bad. Petrel's only friends are rats that can talk until the boat drives by an iceberg with a boy on it. The people rescue the boy and put him in a jail cell. Petrel wants to save the boy so she can have a friend and get some answers from him. They try to get him back to his home but must go through many obstacles.
Actual rating: 3.5 stars. This would have scored a 4 star rating if I'd been given a little more world-building, but it did turn out to be quite the exciting story. I really love the idea of, after hundreds of years, a ship's crew having broken into different tribal groups. You just need to ignore any questions concerning population sustainability and you'll be fine. : P I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.