Review: Iceling by Sasha Stephenson

Review: Iceling by Sasha Stephenson Iceling by Sasha Stephenson
Series: Icelings #1
Published by Razorbill on December 13th 2016
Pages: 304

Lorna’s adopted sister, Callie, is part of a mysterious group of non-lingual teens, Icelings, born on a remote Arctic island, who may not be entirely human. Now Callie wants to go home.

Seventeen-year-old Lorna loves her adoptive sister, Callie. But Callie can’t say “I love you” back. In fact, Callie can’t say anything at all.

Because Callie is an Iceling—one of hundreds of teens who were discovered sixteen years ago on a remote Arctic island, all of them lacking the ability to speak or understand any known human language.

Mysterious and panicked events lead to the two sisters embarking on a journey to the north, and now Lorna starts to see that there’s a lot more to Callie’s origin story than she’d been led to believe. Little does she know what’s in store, and that she’s about to uncover the terrifying secret about who—and what—Callie really is.


This was a quirky little book for sure! I didn’t know what to expect going in, because I don’t like to delve too deeply into synopses before I read. Was it a contemporary? A sci-fi? A  dystopian? The answer was… yes. I think. It is the first book in a series, so not all the questions were answered but it definitely has elements of multiple genres.

And it’s weird. Not in a bad way, but it is weird. And wholly unique- I can assure you that you absolutely will not find this premise… well anywhere else ever. And that is a good thing! It made me want to keep reading, for sure. I found myself wanting to know all the things, and that is a good sign, of course. So let us start, as usual, with what I enjoyed!

What I Liked:

  • The sibling relationships were so great. While Lorna and Callie are the main sister duo in the book, there are others that are lovely, too. Lorna’s love for Callie is beautiful, but it’s also realistic. Yes, Lorna gets irritated sometimes by the amount of her time that caring for Callie consumes, but at the end of the day, she’d do anything for her sister, and that is just so sweet.
  • I love a road trip! Yes, there is a road trip in this book, and it makes me so happy. And, it’s an exciting road trip at that, since it isn’t exactly like they’re just on a casual drive.
  • Lorna made me chuckle. I liked how she seemed so real, even during a series of very surreal events. Yes, she took things seriously, but she also had a witty inner dialogue that I enjoyed. A lot of the book is Lorna’s thoughts, so I think that is a big key here- I saw some reviews where the reader didn’t love her, and I think if you don’t like her voice, it would make the book difficult to enjoy. Luckily, I did, so that was a win!
  • The action was great! I liked that while there were absolutely more low key times (I mean, they are riding in a car for a chunk of the book), there was suspense throughout. There was a good balance of fast paced events and some downtime. And, it was a super quick read, I finished in just a few hours.
  • I really enjoyed Lorna’s friendships– with her best friend pre-road trip, the one she formed with Stan during, and the new friends she met along the way. Who doesn’t love a good friendship?


What I Didn’t So Much:

  • Some of the things were a little… unbelievable. And I know there will be another book that will explain more, but some of the things that happened were just a bit too farfetched. But I will say, there is one thing that happens early on in the story that left me shaking my head, but it did end up making sense after the fact. So I have hope that some of the others will, too. But there were quite a few things that required some pretty significant suspension of disbelief.
  • Parent-In-YA Syndrome. Lorna and Callie’s parents weren’t the only crap parents in this book. Some of them had just taken off and abandoned their kids completely, while others just mentally checked out. Minor spoiler alert- View Spoiler »
  • Lorna’s “boyfriend” Dave (Lorna never would fully define what they were) really needed to not be in the story. I didn’t get any point to his existence, I had no feel of his personality whatsoever, and I kind of wanted him to go away. Like he was supposed to be a nice guy, and I suppose he was, but he was as exciting as watching paint dry, too. Maybe that is how he was supposed to be? Either way, go home, Dave.
  • There were a few instances where I was able to pretty easily see some things coming. However, there were also some things that caught me off guard, so this isn’t a totally bad thing, just something to keep in mind.

Will I Read the Next Book?  Yes. I definitely need to know what happens with Lorna, Callie, and all the Icelings!

Bottom Line: Fast paced, fun, and wholly unique, Iceling does require some belief suspension. But if you are able, it is an action-filled story that explores sibling relationships in a whole new way.


What are some of your favorite sibling books? Do you enjoy reading about siblings? 

Posted December 8, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Review / 19 Comments


19 responses to “Review: Iceling by Sasha Stephenson

  1. Like I’m totally intrigued??? But then I’m also REALLY bad at suspending disbelief.? I tend to just go on little angry tantrum rampages about logic and sensibility and things. hehe. SO. I’m not sure I’d rush out after this one, but if my library gets it in, I SHALL DEVOUR IT. (Gosh why am I so violent about everything. Who can know.) I do so like sisterly books!!

  2. Oh wow, this sounds so interesting! I love reading about good sister relationships, especially ones that are realistic (as this one seems to be). It makes it a whole lot easier to relate to, than the main characters who have sisters who are kind of just . . . there? It’s like they’re just someone who lives in the same house as them, which rarely is the case in my experience. Great review, thanks for sharing!

  3. I don’t know what to make of this one. There are a couple of things on your didn’t like list that would bug me, but the idea of a sibling relationship does well is attractive. Great review~!

    • Aw thanks! I agree, some of the things DID bug me, but overall, I liked more than I didn’t, so I think that’s a good thing. It’s probably the kind of book that like, if it was hanging around, you’d read it? Like maybe more of a borrow than a buy. Still a fun book though!

  4. Like Verushka commented, I don’t quite know what to make of this one. I’m usually willing to suspend a certain amount of disbelief but it seems like things might have jumped the shark here. I don’t know… I’m kind of on the fence. Maybe I’ll wait until book two comes out and see what you think of that one. 😉

    • It’s hard, because it DID *almost* jump the shark for me? But not quite? Like, the other parts were still good enough to make it work, I guess. I think the real test WILL be book 2- and how much of it kind of clicks together. Because there WERE instances of things coming together and making sense so I feel like the author CAN do it, so… I hold out hope. I will definitely read book 2.

    • Luckily he gets less involved as the book goes on. I hope he gets like, swept away in a snowstorm in the next book- even though there wasn’t any such plot 😉 And thanks! I think it is worth reading, especially if you like the Arctic Island bit!

  5. “Not entirely human”? That had me. It does look quirky, in a good way. Plus road trip= always good. I always laugh at parent-in-YA syndrome- wouldn’t that have been awesome in high school to have Ya parents who like, I guess cook for you but otherwise are never around? How convenient. 🙂 Still, this sounds very unique and fun and I’m definitely adding it. I want to know what these kids are, and why they’re from an ice island!?!!!

    • I think that if you want to know those questions, then this book would be a good fit! Also, seriously, if my parents took off for the damn Galapagos islands and wanted me to take care of my sibling, I would NOT be tickled. But I guess if it meant a weird road trip, maybe? Actually, that sounds like a pretty fun story to have, so yeah, I take it back, I wish they’d gone to the Galapagos, and left me and my brother to take some kind of weird arctic road trip. Fun party story? ?

  6. Oh man, I’m intrigued! I do love good sibling relationships and road trips! Glad this worked out for you even though a few things weren’t great (the romance seemed unnecessary). Great review, Shannon!

  7. OH NO! I am someone who detests the parent-syndrome in YA novels. It’s one of my major pet peeves and turns me off of a novel incredibly quickly D: But I have to admit, from reading the synopsis I got immediately sucked into this novel. I just want to know more about the Icelings! And what their non-lingual side of things is all about.

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