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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Thin Ice by Mikael Engstrom

I rarely read books translated from another language, but I thought I'd give this one a try.

Title: Thin Ice by Mikael Engstrom, Susan Beard (Translator)
Release Date: 2011
Published by: Little Island
Source: Book Depository Affiliates
Buy: Book Depository


Where would you rather live, in a lonely flat with your drunken father, only bearable when your big brother is home? Or in a small, snowy village with a frozen lake, where your aunt burns books to keep warm and a girl called Pi makes your heart beat a bit too fast.

Mik is a boy who has a difficult life, scary and difficult at times. He's a character that I had a hard time connecting with at first because he was not a boy with a desirable personality. He's incorrigible, played pranks on people, throwing insults their way because he thinks they deserve them. The way he behaves is inexcusable, but as I read along, I see Mik's life and how dark and painful it is to live it. When you live with a drunken father, it's hard to become a good kid. But my hate quickly turned into something else. In between the humorous parts, readers will get to take a glimpse on how Mik's life really is, the painful, sad moments that filled it and these scenes made me understand Mik a bit more.

Thin Ice had an ensemble of unusual characters that gives the book a certain charm. Mik's aunt burns books just to keep herself warm. There's this girl who likes to suck on other people's earlobes, which I have to say is not something one ordinarily does. These characters makes Selet an interesting town with the way they interact with each other. It's heartwarming, especially knowing that it's a cold town filled with snow. The combination of the oddness of the people and the humor creates such a fun atmosphere. They're old but the wisdom one can get from them is something that makes Selet a town a good place to be.

The prose can be awkward at times but this is understandable because the book has been translated to English. It can't be helped, but I did appreciate the effort put in the translation because Thin Ice is still a nice read. The story's pace can be very, very slow at certain times, but it's a good story of friendship, filled with hope and a child's determination to create the life that he wants to have, to not be stuck with a drunken father and to get away from all the glumness of his life. From being an annoying brat to a child filled with courage and hope, Mik became a character whose story sends a great message to the readers, as seen to the many adventures he had with his friends.

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Readers might have a difficulty connecting with some of the characters save for Mik who isn't even likable at first too, and as I mentioned, the story can get a little bit too slow at some points. I only enjoyed reading the latter half of the story, and the saving grace was Mik's development as a character.

Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
Great cover!


  1. I've seen a few reviews for this, and it looks like most people had difficulty connecting with other characters. I'm still thinking whether I should read this book, but thanks for the review!

  2. Thanks for providing good information,Thanks for your sharing.

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