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Friday, July 24, 2009

Review + Interview: Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai

Ice Song by Kirsten Imani Kasai

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pub. Date: May 2009
Sorykah Minuit has just two jobs aboard an ice-drilling submarine: meeting her quota and keeping her identity a secret. It’s no easy trick because when Sorykah’s frightened, she changes into a man—parts and all. Even worse, she suffers from a memory disorder that leaves her clueless about the activities of her other half.

When a wealthy madman abducts her children, timid 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 they do not share memories; each transformation is as much of a jolt as if awakening from a deep and dreamless sleep.

The world through which the sundered halves of Sorykah and Soryk travel is both familiar and surreal. Environmental degradation and genetic mutation run amok; humans have become distorted into animals, and animal bodies mask a wild humanity. But it is also a world of unexpected beauty and wonder, where kindness and love endure amidst the ruins.

Alluring, intense, and gorgeously rendered, Ice Song is a remarkable debut by a fiercely original new writer.

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 after traders (their genetic makeup allows them to switch genders).

The characters and places in Ice Song are extraordinary and I was amazed as to how creatively imagined they are. Sorykah morphs into Soryk - her male counterpart under stress and neither one of them has any recollection of the other’s whereabouts. The secondary characters are noteworthy too as they tie into the plot quite well.

The plot consists of Sorykah/Soryk’s journey to find her infant twins. The constant interactions with interesting people and new places traveled during their journey kept me turning the pages. It was nice to see who/what Sorykah/Soryk would encounter next.

I look forward to reading more of Kasai’s work.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Kirsten has graciously taken time out to answer some questions for me about her books:

What was the inspiration behind Sorykah/Soryk's story? 
I wanted to write about a woman's odyssey, a profound journey of inner and outer change.Numerous action films focus on a father who goes after baddies to take revenge for wrongs against his family, while the mother just sits home, frets and waits. A socially-isolated single mother doesn't have that option. She has to take on whatever heroics are necessary and force herself past any limitations in order to succeed. Sorykah has doubts, fears and a lot of anxiety about the world, but she refuses to let those obstacles define her.

The characters and places in Ice Song are interesting, while reading your book I felt like I was watching a movie on big screen, how did you come up with such vivid descriptions?
Because I'm watching a movie in my head! It really does feel sometimes like I'm just taking dictation as the action unfolds. My ideas are a hodgepodge of landscapes, machinery, environments and creatures from the real world, and some inventions and other things that are just my own wishes/thoughts.

What fantasy writers have inspired/influenced your work?
Angela Carter, Octavia Butler and Tanith Lee

What's next for you, will we see more of Sorykah/Soryk?
Yes! There are two more books about Sorykah and her family. "Tattoo" is slated for publication by Del Rey in 2010, and I'm currently working on the third novel, "Saudade."Sorykah's adventure in "Tattoo" picks up right where "Ice Song" ends, and we see more of Rava, the octopus woman, Queen Sidra, that bad boy, Chen, and meet some new and intriguing characters.

Is there any additional info that you would like to share with the readers?
Please visit me online at for deleted scenes, blog, events/readings, pics and more.You can also follow me on Twitter @kirstenikasai

Thanks Kirsten!

For more information about Kirsten Kasai and her books, please check out her website here.


  1. Very interesting premise. Not sure it's my thing, but I'm glad you featured the book and interview! Thanks!

  2. This was a really interesting read for me as well. I will link your review from mine, if that's ok.

  3. Talk about manning up! >.< I couldn't resist.
    This has got to be the most original plot I've read in quite some time. Kudos to Kasai!


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