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Ice Song

(Ice Song #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  48 reviews
There are secrets beneath her skin.

Sorykah Minuit is a scholar, an engineer, and the sole woman aboard an ice-drilling submarine in the frozen land of the Sigue. What no one knows is that she is also a Trader: one who can switch genders suddenly, a rare corporeal deviance universally met with fascination and superstition and all too often punished by harassment or death.

Paperback, 372 pages
Published May 19th 2009 by Del Rey
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  190 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
(4.5 stars) I’ve never been a big science fiction reader, and so it took me far too long to get around to reading Kirsten Imani Kasai’s Ice Song. Its beautiful cover would draw my eye again and again in the bookstore, then I’d flip it over to read the back cover copy and think, “Oh. Submarines. Mutations. This is that science fiction book again.” Now that I’ve read it, I wish the blurb had contained one brief sentence that would have had me snapping up the book right away: This is a fairy tale.

Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Please note: I wrote almost a complete review of this book last night, and then Safari threw me off and my review disappeared. So if you don't like this review, just know that the original was a work of astonishing beauty that would have moved you to tears!

When I grade student papers, I will often give a student a higher grade if s/he has attempted something daring and put forth an original idea, even if the execution was somewhat flawed.

(In over five years of teaching, this has happened maybe o
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
This is a well written dark and unusual fantasy that takes place in a world where DNA mutations and combination's had gone a muck. A female / male protagonist fighting to reclaim hers / his babies is the main story line. There are many interesting turns in this story, and the growth that our main character achieves is very satisfying. I really enjoyed that Kasai did not fall back on typical male / female stereotypes to bring this story to a conclusion. Well paced, well written, a great first nov ...more
Kasai's debut novel starts out very sci-fi - a woman works on an arctic submarine harvesting some fabulously expensive product for the urban rich - then floats ever further off into fantasy and fairy tale realms. Her journey to find her kidnapped twins takes her to seedy dive bars full of "somatics" with animal-looking mutations, then to a woman who is either a brilliant botanist or a half-insane sorceress, and finally to a pleasure palace straight out of a Tanith Lee dream.

Ice Song reads like
Aug 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know what to expect from Kirsten Imani Kasai’s debut novel Ice Song. To be honest this is not the type of book I usually go for when at the bookstore. When Ms. Kasani offered to send me a copy to read I thought would go ahead and take a chance. Wow, I am glad I did as this a truly incredible and totally unique novel. Books like Ms. Kasai’s are why I like having a book review blog as it gives me a chance to read novels that normally I would pass on.

The plot is relatively simple. Sorykah
Oct 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this. On the one hand, the author's tremendous creativity, extraordinary worldbuilding, and unforgettable protagonist are all excellent. On the other, I felt the story got a bit bogged down in places by description. It is a strength of the author, but for my taste, gets indulged too frequently, sometimes at the expense of actually understanding what is going on (which is counter-intuitive but had that effect due to complexity and unusual nature of some of t ...more
May 05, 2009 marked it as to-read
From Publishers Weekly
Kasai's strikingly original but uneven debut posits a world where DNA has gone wild, producing Traders with amazing abilities and somatics with a mix of animal and human genes. Sorykah Minuit, a gender-switching Trader, arrives in the dirty, dangerous polar town of Ostara to meet her twin children and their nursemaid. She encounters an octopus-woman who tells her the children have been abducted by the Trader-torturing Collector. Passages of stunning imagery veer abruptly in
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
I am still not really sure what I think of this book. Admittedly it took me over a month to get through, but that wasn't because it was bone-achingly boring. When I was reading it I enjoyed it for the most part, but it didn't give me that "can't put it down" feeling. It was also confusing because there were chunks of the book that I felt were just thrown in there because, not for any specific literary purpose. I am happy to be done with it and moving on to another of my other books. I guess over ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it
As I'm more interested in "hard" scifi stories, I did not find this book as engrossing as others. However I did enjoy reading it. It was well written, I loved her very descriptive writing and great creativity. However I found it a bit slow paced as her descriptions bogged down the story telling in some parts. I think I would have enjoyed it better if it dealt more with her 2 genders and how that affected her life and relationships. ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This was a very odd book that I picked up because I liked the cover. It took me a bit to get into, but I did enjoy the book as a whole. The transitions were a bit abrupt, confusing me a tad bit, however the characters were relatively well fleshed out. Felt like a new author book. If another comes out set in the same world, I'd probably try it. ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)

This was an engrossing, thrilling, fresh, lovely read... for about 200 hundred pages of the 384 total duration. Not that I didn't enjoy the last of the novel, or that I wasn't involved in Soryk/ah's unique tale - Ice Song simply and sadly suffers (alliteration is fun!) from a problem that so many other novels of the fantasy genre also suffer: it's just too long. Three hundred eighty-four pages is far from the longest book I've read this year, but it's nothing to sneeze at, certainly. But, truthf
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I didn’t know what to expect from Kirsten Imani Kasai’s debut novel Ice Song. To be honest this is not the type of book I usually go for when at the bookstore. When Ms. Kasani offered to send me a copy to read I thought would go ahead and take a chance. Wow, I am glad I did as this a truly incredible and totally unique novel. Books like Ms. Kasai’s are why I like having a book review blog as it gives me a chance to read novels that normally I would pass on.

The plot is relatively simple. Sorykah
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Egalley thanks to Random House

This book reads like a mad inventor's fairy-tale. I love crazy, but sometimes it was too much even for me. That's why I think I'm having difficulties describing what I feel about this book.

You've read the synopsis, right? A mad, mad world full of genetic mutations, hard work and extreme climates.

Sorykah is a Trader, a rare mutation with genetic make-up of two people. Her other half, Soryk has been suppressed all her life and only comes out for short spurs of time wh
May 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Sorykah is an engineer on an ice-drilling submarine, and a new mother about to be reunited with her children -- except they've been abducted. What makes them so special and worth kidnapping is that they've inherited their mother's Trader ability, which allows them to physically change sex. Meanwhile, other mutations abound; most deal with human-animal hybrids, so that a woman might have an octopus's tendrils or a man the characteristics of a walrus. There are mild flavors of Elizabeth Lynn and M ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I was very intrigued by this book from the blurb on the back, which prompted me to check it out from the library. And then it was nothing like what the back leads you to believe. For a novel whose main character is a gender-bender (literally), she spends awfully little time as her male counterpart. He doesn't even show up until more than a third of the way into the book. I did think it was a neat twist that her two halves don't share memories - talk about confusing. But the rest of the story lef ...more
 Tina (Fantastic Book Review)
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Ice Song is a new and welcomed addition to the sci-fi/fantasy world and for it to be Kasai’s debut novel, to say the least I’m impressed!

I love Kasai’s writing style and the imagery in Ice Song is fascinating. This novel grabbed my attention well into the first few pages. Kasai’s writing is so vivid and I felt as though I was watching a movie on big screen. I was captivated by the world that Kasai created involving somatics (people born with animal genes/mutations) and the rare and highly sought
Linda C
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
In the frozen land of Sigue where the environment has degraded and genetic human/animal mutations make for hideous beings, Sorykah is a rare mutant human able to switch genders at will. She has given birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who have inherited her trait. While they are in the care of a nanny and Sorykah is away on a submarine, they are stolen by The Collector who does ghastly experiments on the mutants. On her quest to find her children, Sorykah passes through water worlds and primordia ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
The concept of human-animal hybrids, and sex-shifting characters are what drew me in and kept me reading, despite times when the plot/action felt as holey as swiss cheese and the prose required third-try readings. Descriptions of cold, the forest, and the characters' bodies were interesting, but I can't say it was stellar writing.

Take this bit at the end. "The torch she'd lost in her scuffle with the dogs lay smoldering and now the rug beneath it had begun to blaze." And yet this fire isn't ment
Terena Scott
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a completely original fantasy written by a talented new writer, two things which make me excited. Kirsten Imani Kasai has created a beautiful, dangerous, multi-layered, world and a protagonist who is strong, yet completely believable, even as she changes genders. This is the story of a mother trying to rescue her kidnapped children from a mad man known as "The Collector," a woman who is not a superhero, but who faces incredible dangers and trials as she crosses the frozen land. She is al ...more
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
In a world filled with genetic mutations, Sorykah Minuit is still a rarity: she's a trader- able to switch from her primary female gender to the male,Soryk. Sorykah takes a job as an engineer with a company working in the frozen North. Her nanny is supposed to meet her there with Soryah twin babies but the nanny and babies are kidnapped by the collector who is known to kill the mutants he collects in his efforts to find a cure for his daughter who has mutated into a beast. The book tells the sag ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Very intense book, intriguing premise.

the review I posted on Snip:
This book was SO GOOD, I find myself very reluctant to return it the library. What if I NEED to read it again, some more, incessantly, every night?!?! The lead character, Sorykah, is a mother of two kidnapped babies, an ice-drilling engineer...and a Trader who can switch back and forth between genders. Her world is also populated by Somatics, people who are part human/part animal, and her search for the twins finds her making une
S Klotz
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a dark and heavy fantasy set in the wilderness outside of a 20th century society. Issues of gender, abnormality and family are dealt with as a Nursing mother journeys to retrieve her kidnapped twin infants.

The language is beautiful, the emotions are strong, and violence is not shied away from. I'd not recommend this to the squeamish or prudish. I called it fantasy, but the underlying strangeness in the book could just as easily have scientific explanations and no magic is explicitly invo

Excellent debut; I marked it as sf since while undeniably fantasy-like in style it's also closest to Liz Williams Darkland/Bloodmind in theme and setting, so it's more of a gothic sf than anything else.

Superb style, imagery and emotion with an ok plot and a little too much tell rather than show, but debut and all the positives vastly outweigh the negatives. A strange book and I expect it will be a love it, hate it kind - I loved it

This is a book that establishes Ms. Kasai as an author to foll
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Eh. I picked up this book because Tattoo seemed to be getting a lot of hype when it came out and it seemed interesting. It's not bad per se, certainly not unreadable, but I couldn't really get into it and sort of figured why bother when I have so many other books I want to read. ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
didn't like it very much, slow to start too fast throughout the second half not much happened and then too much happened. not fully fleshed out, oddly anticlimactic even though all sorts of sh*t happens... wish i had never read it. it was weird and gross and confusing and disappointing, if you havent read it dont, if you have read it im sorry. ...more
Nathan Barker
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
3.5 stars on this one.. the prose was well written and the world an original one but the 'quest' seemed too stereotypical of the genre. The pacing was poor.. and despite elegant descriptions, I wasn't drawn into the world Kasai created. I enjoyed the read but if there were a sequel, it wouldn't make it to my 'must-read' stack. ...more
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up to fulfil a reading challenge calling for a book with the word "Ice" in the title and I'm really glad I did! It was a good read, some ideas flashed past a bit quickly, and others dragged on a bit (most of the pleasure palace stuff) but overall interesting ideas and an enjoyable read. ...more
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Good read! I enjoyed it! I especially enjoyed the pleasure chapter..that's how I refer to it..very pleasurable to read..and imagine. :) My only "complaint" is the over usage (is that proper grammar?) of descriptive words. Step away from the thesaurus woman! <3 ...more
Latrice Smith
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I had a very difficult time getting through this book. It wasn't terrible a little too dull for my taste. The concept of the main character Soryk/ah was rather interesting, I just wished we more "conflict" with her alter-ego. ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it
An interesting book. There were some interesting scifi concepts regarding human mutation and corporate power that were compelling. The main characters were mostly engaging. There were some parts of the book that were a little gross for my tastes. Overall pretty engaging.
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Kirsten Imani Kasai is the author of three novels: The House of Erzulie, Ice Song and Tattoo.

Other books in the series

Ice Song (2 books)
  • Tattoo (Ice Song #2)

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