This fulfills half of my African requirement for the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. The author was born in Nigeria and the book is about a fourteen-year-old boy who has left his hometown in West Africa to fight behind enemy lines in Burma in WWII.
Tag Archives: 2010 Global Reading Challenge
Blood and Ice by Robert Masello. Bantam, 2009.
Blood and Ice has everything it needs to be a great thriller; a desolate and isolated setting, a main character with a tragic past, a mystery, a love story and a creepy secret.
The main character, Michael Wilde is a journalist who has traveled to Antarctica both to write a piece for his magazine and to try to get away from his own troubles. He is a strong leading character; likeable and interesting. A few days into his assignment he goes on a polar dive and discovers two bodies frozen deep within a block of ice, a man and woman. Immediately he connects with the woman’s frozen image and becomes protective of the body as it is taken back to the research facility and the ice begins to melt.
The story flips between following Michael and his own flashbacks, and the mysterious couple, their lives during the 1800’s and how they became entombed within the sea. This keeps the reader interested in both of the story lines and prolongs the suspense; but it also seems to slow the pace of the novel.
The writing style is full of cliches and flowery descriptions; Masello seems to be suffering from an excess of adjectives. Even though the novel was partly set in the 1800’s, there is still no excuse for the use of the word ‘bosom’. Perhaps that is my own personal aversion from reading too many overwrought romance novels in my youth, it is impossible to read that word without picturing a heroine clasping something. In any case, you don’t pick up a book like this for the depth of the prose, you read it because you can’t put it down. And at that it generally succeeds. Even though it was predictable, it was still captivating enough to keep the pages turning late into the night. However, the first two thirds of the novel are a lot stronger than the remainder. Once the secrets have been revealed the plot loses its focus and heads towards an incredibly far fetched and unsatisfying ending. But, as a whole, it was worth reading.
The first book that I have read and reviewed for the 2010 Global Reading Challenge is ‘Kitchen’ by Banana Yoshimoto. It was translated from Japanese to English by Megan Backus. To read my review, please to go my Examiner article.
Surfing from blog to blog, I came across something called the 2010 Global Reading Challenge. So of course I immediately signed up, and chose the hardest level available. That’s just the way I roll.
Within 2010, I have to read two novels each from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America (including Central America), South America and two set in Antarctica. Within these choices, fourteen different countries have to be represented.
I was the eighty-eighth person to sign up, and upon corresponding with the creator of the challenge, a blogger named Dorte, I found out that the vast majority of the participants found out about the challenge just like I did. They came to it from links from other blogs. Dorte has a partner, Kerrie, who provides technical assistance. The two have never met and are associated with each other only from the blogging world. Suitable to the spirit of the challenge, Dorte is from Denmark and Kerrie is from Australia. I find it interesting that this entire sphere of communication has developed between bloggers who write about similar topics. It is certainly its own online community.
I will of course, review the books I read for the challenge, so keep an eye out for them to appear in the near future. If you have any suggestions for new global authors, please leave a comment.