Author: Grace Hamitlon
Title: Freezing Point
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Plot: In the dawn of a new Ice Age, families everywhere are taking to the road to escape the frigid landscape—but you can’t outrun the cold.
No one could have predicted the terrifying impact of human interference in the Arctic. Shifts in the Earth’s crust have led to catastrophe and now the North Pole is located in the mid-Atlantic, making much of the eastern United States an unlivable polar hellscape.
Nathan Tolley is a talented mechanic who has watched his business dry up due to gas shortages following the drastic tectonic shifts. His wife Cyndi has diligently prepped food and supplies, but it’s not enough to get them through a never-ending winter. With an asthmatic young son and a new baby on the way, they’ll have to find a safe place they can call home or risk freezing to death in this harsh new world.
When an old friend of Nathan’s tells him that Detroit has become a paradise, with greenhouses full of food and plenty of solar energy for everyone, it sounds like the perfect place to escape. But with dangerous conditions and roving gangs, getting there seems like an impossible dream. It also seems like their only choice.
I received Freezing Point from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I thought the premise for Freezing Point sounded really engaging: a dystopian novel set when the world starts freezing over and humanity must question how far they are prepared to go to survive and keep their loved ones safe. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite deliver for me, and there were a couple of reasons for this.
The first was the characters. The entire thing follows Nate: a husband, father and mechanic. But Nate was a weak character. By which I mean he gives himself a pep talk more than once because he knows he is being weak and irrational, vows never to be that man again, and skip a few chapters and it all repeats.
Nate initially refuses to leave his home because of the ties to his father’s business – despite his sick son and pregnant wife (the love of his life as we are often reminded) being in danger staying there. He is initially reluctant to engage in violence – which is fine. But although that changes, it doesn’t feel like he’s had the emotional development to go with it, he just does it and then doesn’t dwell on the consequences. I spent most of the book wanting Nate to pull himself together.
Nathan hated that he was wallowing a little in his own self-pity. He needed to shake it loose and get his ducks in a row. Saving his wife and son was not going to allow him to just go back to being the old Nathan. Old Nathan had to break, slough his skin, and come out bigger, stronger and harder.
There are several other characters that feel they have missed potential. Most notably are Syd, Donie and Dave. These could be really cool and complex characters, but Nate has such a negative and mistrusting attitude that you can’t connect to them. He’s constantly making ‘truces’ with Syd, and their relationship never moves forward. His wife, Cyndi, is the only person he truly sees in a positive light.
His ‘best friend’, Freeson, deals with a lot in this book. But perhaps most of all, he puts up with Nate, who doesn’t respect him, doesn’t value him and is quick to dismiss him unless their views are the same. Nate’s attitudes towards others makes him a hard character to like.
The structure of the book also didn’t make a lot of sense. For example: days of travelling leads to meeting Lucy and burning her limo. Days after that, they reach a diner. Days after that, they find the cabin in the wood, all while driving. Yet in one day, Nate (with a head wound and no food) walks back to the diner, somehow passing the limo on the way. No wonder they couldn’t get to Detroit: they appeared to be going in circles?
I couldn’t engage with this one: I couldn’t suspend disbelief to feel any of the tension. Apart from the very final part of the book, the characters have it too easy – they just conveniently have enough food, warmth, space for all of the strays they pick up. There was no sense of urgency, even when the action picks up, and I got bored with all the travelling and nothing else happening.
Unfortunately for me, this book didn’t work. I need to feel a connection with the characters and that didn’t happen. Maybe it will work for others…