Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Hoffman outdoes herself yet again in The Ice Queen. It's story about a girl, whose name is never revealed. She loses her mother in a fatal car crash when she is barely 8 years old. Said girl grows up to be a narcissistic, invisible librarian who physically and emotionally detaches herself from everyone as punishment for wishing her mother dead. Upon her grandmother's death, our narrator is moved from New Jersey to Florida via her brother Ned. Though Ned's intentions are good, his sister again makes a disastrous wish, this one for herself. She wishes to get struck by lightening, and does so. From here on out, things start to get interesting. Our narrator sets out on a quest to meet "Lazarus Jones," best known to have been fatally struck by lightening, only to rise from the dead 45 minutes later. Her mission is to find the one person that she can not destroy.

I will be honest, the beginning of this story is downright depressing. Hoffman's theme is "it can't get any worse," and then it does. The appropriately self-titled "ice queen" makes a remarkable journey from one end of the spectrum to the other. The majority of the novel is centered around death, but the story is anything but morbid. I highly enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to reading many more of Hoffman's novels. I loved this book just as much as The Probable Future, though they were very different. It is rare to find an author that is versatile, while drawing in the same audience into each and every novel.

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