Sunday, March 1, 2009

Siberia by Ann Halam

Siberia is a novel that sports a world that seems like it could be ours, yet still makes it different enough that it dips into the unbelievable. It tells the story of young girl, Rosita, daughter of a disgraced scientist who helped create the “Lindquists.” Siberia is set in a time when there are four different kinds of animals. There are the “muties” which are dangerous mutant animals. Then there are the rats and other scavengers. Thirdly are the fur bearers which are grown and used for fur. Lastly, there are wild animals. The actual wild animals are rare and almost never seen as they’ve been hunted to near extinction. Here is where the novel starts. Rosita and her mother are sent to a prison camp when she is very young. While there, Rosita’s mother teachers her about the Lindquists. These Lindquists, when grown, develop into the uncommonly seen wild animals. Her mother also tells of a wondrous place; a city where the sun always shines. It is a place where she and Rosita will travel to someday. To avoid spoiling too much, Rosita, later known as Sloe, finds herself on a harrowing adventure with mysterious pursuers with her only protectors; the Lindquists. The plot twists and turns without ever truly explaining itself. What’s unique about Siberia is the idea of the Lindquists. What is first thought to be done by magic turns out to not be so. I didn’t particularly care much for the main character. Sure, she was more realistic because of her flaws, but ultimately I didn’t feel for her or her cause. It’s an interesting enough read, and I encourage a reader to try it out if you’re interested in science fiction because, at the core, that’s what Siberia is. There’s nothing notable about the writing style. It’s straightforward and doesn’t use any flourishes. It was better than mediocre but not by a large margin. I award Siberia three stars. ***

Review by Alisa Heskin

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