The Ice Lion has a rich and in-depth mythology that grabbed me right from the beginning. O’Neal Gear thrusts us into an uncertain and dire future where we, the human race, were not able to stop global warming and instead made things worse, leaving future generations to endure an unending ice age. The Ice Lion is a story of loyalty, duty, and individual and species survival at the end of the world. Please continue reading below to take a stroll through my mind’s reflection on The Ice Lion.
One thousand years in the future, the zyme, a thick blanket of luminous green slime, covers the oceans. Glaciers three-miles-high rise over the continents. The old stories say that when the Jemen, godlike beings from the past, realized their efforts to halt global warming had gone terribly wrong, they made a desperate gamble to save life on earth and recreated species that had survived the worst of the earth’s Ice Ages.
Sixteen-summers-old Lynx and his best friend Quiller are members of the Sealion People–archaic humans known as Denisovans. They live in a world growing colder, a world filled with monstrous predators that hunt them for food. When they flee to a new land, they meet a strange old man who impossibly seems to be the last of the Jemen. He tells Lynx the only way he can save his world is by sacrificing himself to the last true god, a quantum computer named Quancee.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
What I really loved about The Ice Lion was the dichotomy that O’Neal Gear created with the post-apocalyptic temporal setting with the prehistoric cultural and environmental settings. This created an intriguing scenario that really shines in the varying mythos of the different groups of survivors, explaining the past and their present. As a reader I was both familiar and unfamiliar with the worldbuilding the O’Neal Gear created, trying to backtrack in my own head to think “well what modern-day person or thing is this character referring to in their own post-apocalyptic worldview?” I truly enjoyed that exercise as a reader and the forethought of the author to create a new archaic view on the present (and hopefully not our future).
The Ice Lion is set up with multiple viewpoints of our main protagonists Lynx and Quiller. I generally enjoy having different narrators as they lend to a more unique and rich discussion of the events they experience. Unfortunately, I did not find that to be the case in The Ice Lion as both narrators were rarely in the same location and it felt as though it was turning into dueling (or even disconnected) survival stories, which were tangentially related and more heavily invested towards one character.
I really did enjoy reading The Ice Lion and I am looking forward to further installments in the series! I felt that there were so many layers (pun intended) to O’Neal Gear’s world-building, mixing both the familiar and unfamiliar. The characters were masterfully created, leading to some serious investment in all the characters and some threats of chastisement of the author in my head if things did not go the way I wanted as a reader. There was enough mystery and unanswered questions to keep me enticed as a reader all the way to the end and beyond with hopes to get a chance to read number two in the Rewilding Report!