Beyond the Frozen Horizon comes out today, according to Netgalley, who kindly send me an ARC. I’ve been reading a lot over the summer. With a log-jam of reviews to give you, I thought I’d slot this one in today. I thought I’d already reviewed it, to be honest, and wondered why I hadn’t uploaded it to Netgalley already.

beyond the frozen horizon

Beyond the Frozen Horizon

by Nicola Penfold

The earth is thriving – with wilderness status protecting land and wildlife, and scientific organisations researching new ways to support human life sustainably. Rory’s mum is a geologist on one of these projects, and Rory is beyond excited to join her on a work trip to the Arctic. But the project isn’t all that it seems, and Rory soon learns what’s at stake for the people and animals that live there… [goodreads]

My Review

This is a well thought-out future world, if only our governments would move this fast. Thirty years hence, wilderness lands have full protection, oil and other fossil fuel projects no longer exist. But it seems the world’s desire for more electricity hasn’t gone away. Sufficiency didn’t get into the sustainability paradigm, obviously.

Rory (a girl, which confused me – is it common in the US to use traditional boys’ names for girls?) is more her father’s child than her mother’s. She loves the outdoors and wilderness things. But Dad lives isolated in the wilderness, and Mum works for a new corporate determined to extract oil in a biodegradable way. And Mum and Dad may not be formally together any more anyway. This is one of the things Rory is battling against. She also strives to settle among the hostile indigenous population, who did not leave when the wilderness was ‘cleared’ as the politicians would have it. They are still there, living in the remains of the settlement surrounded by ghosts. Figurative ghosts of course. Anything else must be a figment of Rory’s overstretched and overstressed imagination. Mum is really stressed of course.

Beyond the Frozen Horizon is a well-written suspense story, full of the flavour of Arctic Svalbard if a little off on some of the detail. The characters are extremely well drawn, and ring true, not only in their mixed emotions towards friendship to newcomers, but also in their antagonism to the oil company. It’s not just the big business ousting the locals, it’s more the protection of their pristine land, and the need for it to remain so. In fact underlying the whole story is a warning that even if we get big business to act now, we can’t rely on them to stay acting in the earth’s interests if their profits are at stake.

It’s a really good envisioning of one aspect of a climate changed future that most people could do with reading, let alone middle grade readers. I just had to dock half a star because of the Svalbard mistakes; the author did her research at the wrong time of year. But at least she did some research.

Book Review | Beyond the Frozen Horizon 'This is a well-written suspense story, full of the flavour of Arctic Svalbard' #mglit #climatechange Click To Tweet

Book Review | Beyond the Frozen Horizon
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4 thoughts on “Book Review | Beyond the Frozen Horizon

  • 1 September, 2022 at 8:06 am

    Great review, Jemima. Sounds intriguing. KL <3

  • 1 September, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    Sounds intriguing. I’m wondering if the author is thinking about the whole issue of “wilderness”, with the issue of ousting indigenous peoples to fit a false idea of a pristine wilderness. And it’s good to see someone addressing climate change issues, maybe especially in an optimistic way. (I’m not that optimistic, but I know that a negative view takes a toll).

  • 1 September, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Sounds like a ‘climate’ book worth reading. And yes, we do use names that could be for boys for girls here. My daughter is Cameron.

  • 3 September, 2022 at 4:16 am

    Such a wonderful review, Jemima! The cover is so beautiful 🙂

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