Publication: February 2012 from Tor Books
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic ice cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.
Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself — but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.
Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Arctic Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.
Now Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped…by any means necessary. When Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world.
It is all to easy to imagine the near-future world in Tobias S. Buckell’s Arctic Rising. The Polar ice cap has all but melted and the Arctic has opened up as a shipping lane, place to live and work, and of course – oil. Anika usually has a fairly easy job of monitoring shipping through the Arctic waters from her airship, until the day she looks a bit closer at a ship showing radioactive readings and is shot out of the sky. What follows begins as a simple need to find out why and quickly becomes a rush to save more than just herself, but the Arctic and the world.
Arctic Rising is almost non-stop action from the beginning to the end. Spanning only a few days, Anika’s airship is shot out of the sky, she finds herself in a fight for her life, flees her home and work, is captured, escapes engages in numerous shootouts and oh yea, is entirely too close to a nuclear bomb for her comfort. But even with this amount of action and running around, Tobias S. Buckell still manages to flesh out his characters and allow you to connect with them. I think the main aspect I really liked about this book is Anika. She’s a strong, capable, independent woman. She fights for what she believes in and those she loves, and can handle her own when it comes to the tough stuff. At any time she could have easily given up and given in, but she doesn’t. She keeps going and sees it through to the end. Oh! And, Anika happens to be a lesbian. Best part? She just is. There’s no big reveal or major plot revolving around this fact, her orientation is just one more aspect to her character and it’s wonderful.
I do have to admit that I was a little confused at times as to who were the bad guys and who were the good guys, but I’m thinking it’s supposed to be that way. Anika herself is often unsure as to who’s on her side, and whose side she’s on, and the plot reflects that, though it can be distracting trying to keep it all straight. I think I may have also enjoyed the book more (though I did enjoy it quite a bit) with a different writing style. The writing is good, don’t get me wrong, there were just some turns of phrase and sentences that seemed a big awkward to me, although they may not to another reader.
Arctic Rising is a fast-paced fire fight through the Arctic ice and cold. Books that have a plot rooted in possibility are always a bit more heart-pounding than complete science fiction, for the simple fact that such a future is scary to imagine and yet may very well be reality and sooner than we may think. The ideas presented by Tobias S. Buckell for reversing global warming are intriguing and I can’t help but wonder if, it ever came down to such a drastic change in weather and climate, would something like it be attempted? While Arctic Rising may be an intense action-adventure, it’s completely thought-provoking as well, and a science fiction that takes place in a not so distant future.
Hardcover copy provided by Tor Books as part of a blog tour in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!