GAH! Good book, interesting ideas, cool execution, but GAH! She should not still be lactating after all that she’s been through and with the length of time she’s been away from her babies! I mean, the woman turns into a man, several times, is away from her children for months, and yet she can still nurse them? They don’t even really remember her, and her breasts are still leaking.
It’s a twisted book about a twisted universe. Something happened that somehow infuses some people with animal characteristics, such as tentacles, or walrus tusks, or fur, or dog ears, or cat whiskers, or, or, or. Normal people hate and attack these somatics, as they are called, and thus most of them are hermits or live in conclaves of other somatics. Soryk/ah, the main character, has something else. Sorykah, the mother of twins, sometimes turns into Soryk, a man who doesn’t remember Sorykah’s life. The twins are stolen by the Collector because they have inherited this trait, and Sorykah sets out across the Arctic ice to rescue them. Adventure of many, many, kinds ensue.
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.
Sorykah’s infant twins, Leander and Ayeda, have inherited their mother’s Trader genes. When a wealthy, reclusive madman known as the Collector abducts the babies to use in his dreadful experiments, Sorykah and her male alter-ego, Soryk, must cross icy wastes and a primeval forest to get them back. Complicating the dangerous journey is the fact that Sorykah and Soryk do not share memories: Each disorienting transformation is like awakening with a jolt from a deep and dreamless sleep.
The world through which the alternating lives of Sorykah and Soryk travel is both familiar and surreal. Environmental degradation and genetic mutation run amok; humans have been distorted into animals and animal bodies cloak a wild humanity. But it is also a world of unexpected beauty and wonder, where kindness and love endure amid the ruins. Alluring, intense, and gorgeously rendered, Ice Song is a remarkable debut by a fiercely original new writer.