In the aftermath of a devastating plague, a fearless young heroine embarks on a dangerous and surprising journey to save her world in this brilliantly inventive thriller.
In the ruins of a future America, 15-year-old Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live off the detritus of a crumbled civilization. Theirs is a world of children; before reaching the age of 20, they all die of a strange disease they call Posies - a plague that has killed for generations. There is no medicine, no treatment; only the mysterious rumor of a cure.
When her brother begins showing signs of the disease, Ice Cream Star sets off on a bold journey to find this cure. Led by a stranger, a captured prisoner named Pasha who becomes her devoted protector and friend, Ice Cream Star plunges into the unknown, risking her freedom and ultimately her life. Traveling hundreds of miles across treacherous, unfamiliar territory, she will experience love, heartbreak, cruelty, terror, and betrayal, fighting to protect the only world she has ever known.
A postapocalyptic literary epic as imaginative as The Passage and as linguistically ambitious as Cloud Atlas, The Country of Ice Cream Star is a breathtaking work from a writer of rare and unconventional talent.
©2015 Sandra Newman (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I'm a junky for the dystopian/ post apocalyptic genre, so this book seemed right up my alley based on the description alone, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was so much more than I could have wished for. There is a richness to the world building, the language and the characters that is really beautiful and hard to shake off when you're done. So many of the reviews I read before buying this book had mixed feelings about the use of language in this book, as it's written entirely in an imagined slang that is loosely based on contemporary African American slang, with elements of Spanish and possibly French mixed in. The narration of this book is so on point that by the end of the first chapter it's like listening to well performed Shakespeare, in the sense that even when the words are foreign to your ear none of the means no is lost because the delivery of the lines manages to bring it all together. And by two or three chapters in, the language with all of its new words and rules is perfectly familiar and comfortable to your ears.
The story itself is as heartbreaking as it is exciting, you will find yourself on the kind of emotional roller coaster that a truly epic tale should take you on - the kind that you don't want to get off of. It's real and truthful in its darkest moments, but it's not all doom and gloom. There are characters who will make you laugh just as hard as you might have wanted to cry right before they entered the scene.
Several reviewers have likened it to the hunger games for grown ups, and yes, it appeals to the same kind of person who loves those books. But I don't think that the distinction as "not a YA" book is felt as heavily for the reader as those reviewers want to make you think. Especially if the YA books in the genre are something you enjoy!
I absolutely loved this book. The language is incredible. The story wonderful and sad and totally intriguing. The book is spoken is another language, a mix of incredible metaphors as well as a new language to match the world the author created. Really really enjoyed it.
I am having a really hard time reviewing this audiobook. While the performance was excellent, and the story immersive, I just can not be satisfied. I love a big chunky read/really long listen; coming in at a little over 26 hours though, I don't know that I feel accomplished or better off for my experience. The degradation of language was not a problem for me, it was interesting and easy to fall into... I can't put my finger on it, something just isn't sitting right with me. I am not one who scares easily, no subject is too uncomfortable for me as long as it isn't overly gratuitous, and I'm not squeamish.... I just didn't love this book. I purchased it because of the hype it has received this year, nods from the international book awards etc., but I feel, I don't know, cheated somehow. I listened to it every chance I got, I couldn't get away from it, while simultaneously feeling like I couldn't wait for it to be over, I mostly just anticipated it ending, not particularly caring what the ending was. I'm not typically a person who will read a book just to finish it either; I've given up on several that I felt were a waste of time. Something about it kept me coming back, but I am so happy it's over.... I doubt this will be helpful to you, as I myself am confused by my own review.
I review simply to say, if you haven't committed to the purchase or you aren't picking it up as required (or voted for book club) reading, please pick something else.
This was a truly imaginative tale that takes a welcome departure from many post-apocalyptic plot lines. The language used throughout the book is that of the main character, and it is one of the most noticeable facets of this gem. Though admittedly, it was a bit challenging to parse at first, patience and attention to context made everything clear after a few chapters. On the whole, the book's peculiar lingo brings the reader wonderfully close to the thoughts and character of the girl known as Ice Cream Star, and in doing so, often succeeds in some beautifully descriptive and poetic expressions. A great deal of credit goes to an absolutely brilliant performance on the part of the narrator.
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