Tuesday, March 26, 2013

REVIEW: "FROZEN SOLID" - by James M. Tabor

Title: “Frozen Solid
Author: James M. Tabor
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Genres: Sci-fi, Thriller
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
My star rating: 3/5


An international group of scientists known as Triage believes that overpopulation is dooming the planet, causing climate change, water scarcity, famine, pandemics, and more. For civilization to survive, the scientists conclude that the earth’s population must be reduced—drastically and without delay. But killing is not part of their agenda. Instead, they will genetically engineer and disseminate a common virus that is really a carrier for something much more sinister.

After the mysterious death of a colleague, microbiologist Hallie Leland is dispatched to the South Pole to continue her friend’s research. What she uncovers are alarming details of Triage’s plot, which pits her against forces more terrible than she could have imagined. Now, in one of earth’s loneliest and most treacherous places, where high altitude and extreme environmental conditions can play tricks on the mind, Hallie finds that she has only five days to stop the shocking plan from taking hold.


Frozen Solid is the first book ever I’ve read by this author. Whilst it is an action-packed thriller saturated with suspense, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It just felt as though the story never took off – like sitting in a bus, feeling it slowly accelerating to about five miles an hour and then slowly decelerating again to come to a halt. That’s what it felt like reading this novel. I still had many unanswered questions left once I got to the end of it.

Some of the things that made this a less-than-great read for me, include the technical- and scientific jargon the author uses throughout the story without any simple explanations for readers like me who have a limited knowledge of science. Also, the constant jumps between points of view and abrupt transitioning between scenes and chapters, made me lose track of the plot more than once. One example of this is when the main character, Hallie Leland, is running in her wetsuit towards safety, but is slowly getting frozen and stuck in the ice. She gives up, stops fighting the cold, and resigns herself to await her inevitable demise. Chapter ends. Start of next chapter, first line, she’s standing in her superior’s office, safe and sound, and explains to him how she got there. Such sudden leaps between scenes are frequent all through the book. By the end I had a pretty good idea what the crux of the story was, but I didn’t exactly understand how everything came together to form the conclusion.  The world-building was done quite well and I could easily imagine the extreme cold the characters had to endure, but in stark contrast, the characters weren’t fleshed out enough for me to feel anything for them, even though a lot of lengthy explanations and dialogue are used.  

Although the story was at times dragging along, the suspense was never-ending. There’s a lot to be said for an author whose writing is so engaging – long-winded descriptions and all - it kept me reading into the early hours of the morning. My favorite parts which kept me glued to the pages were the ones in which discoveries were made, the times Hallie spent underwater below the ice, the time she went down into “Old Pole”, and the nerve-wracking scene in which she saved two of her fellow colleagues who fell through the ice. These scenes, and the heart-stopping build-up towards the ending, is why I’m giving Frozen Solid a three-star rating and am recommending it to hardcore readers of the thriller and mystery genres.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.



Frozen Solid by James M. Tabor has 17 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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