And there are bad guys and an energy crisis and three kids who don’t really follow the rules. Throw in a pilot Han Solo would recognize in the mirror, some Paleolithic dudes wandering the ice shelf with wolves, and a few scientists, and you’ve got The Arctic Code, the first in The Dark Gravity Sequence from Matthew Kirby, author of Icefall.
Books which involve the possibility of freezing to death are not usually high on my list. (I know, the list of things I don’t especially enjoy reading is beginning to seem kind of long. Yet somehow, my to-be-read stack is always at least six deep.) I hate being cold. I’m one of those people who is always wearing a sweater inside during the summer. Everyone else might be wearing shorts and t-shirts, and I am still happily rocking my fleecie and jeans. I wear socks all year, even with my sandals sometimes.
So the descriptions of Eleanor Perry’s quest to find her mother – a scientist who’s gone missing – make me a little uncomfortable. A mask to warm up your breath? Hypothermia? Freezing cargo compartments? Thanks, I’ll stay right here close to the hot chocolate and warm cookies.
But that’s the whole point of fiction, right? I can read Matthew Kirby’s excellent adventure, feel that chill closing in on me, worry about how they’re going to make it to the right coordinates before their suits stop keeping them warm, and still be experiencing a nice, humid, hot summer day in Iowa. It’s an exciting trip, and Eleanor, Julian, and Finn are great fellow passengers. Parts of it read very obviously like the beginning to a series, but it works here, and that’s even appealing to some readers. I know I’ll be looking for the next one.