Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.
Two characters minor/supporting characters in this book seem capable of simple and unselfish love. The others are all awkward, grasping, angry, or selfish and have lives filled with dysfunctional relationships. I suppose that we’re supposed to be touched by the transformation that Midas goes through, by navigating love and loss with Ida and his anger with his parents, but I never could connect with his character enough to really care.
In the fictional arctic chain of islands of St. Hauda’s Land, some people catch a strange condition where their bodies gradually turn to glass. Why this happens or how the process works is never really explained. Like a fairy tale, it just is. It is a painful and horrifying process that can take years to develop or may proceed in a matter of minutes. Again, what influences the speed of the change is never explained. I suppose it’s just there to serve the story. For our main character Ida, it begins in her toes and works its way up, as opposed to other characters where it begins in the vital organs. This is convenient for the story because Ida gets plenty of time to hobble around, otherwise unaffected, and impact everyone around her as her vitality is gradually turned immobility.
Obviously, this is not my kind of story. The romance is a little too cloying and I genuinely don’t understand why either of these characters falls in love with the other. The magic is nonsensical, and is really just representational of ideas and emotions, and it’s peopled by unlikeable and neurotic characters. BUT. The prose is really lovely. The author creates a sense of place with texture and emotion and vivid imagery that I really enjoyed. So it was worth the time spent on reading it, but I will be putting it in my donation pile, despite the gorgeous cover art.
Hardcover edition that has been sitting on my shelf since 2013.
I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Stone Cold Horror: Horror that takes place primarily in a winter/cold/snow type setting. The book fits this square because it takes place entirely in the winter, with the snow, ice, and cold all a principle feature of the story.