Shortlisted for the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Book (Australian fantasy)
Selected as a Notable Book for Younger Readers in the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards
Starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus
That’s when Petrel saw him. A boy laid out on the ice like a dead fish with a scattering of snow almost covering his face. A frozen boy …
Petrel lives in the dark corners of an ancient icebreaker, the Oyster. She trusts no one, speaks to no one except two large grey rats, Mister Smoke and Missus Slink. But then a boy is discovered, frozen on an iceberg, and Petrel is determined to save him.
What she doesn’t know is that the Oyster is guarding a secret. A secret that could change the world. A secret that the boy has been sent to destroy, along with the ship and everyone on it.
‘This new trilogy will bait readers with its intriguing premise, hook them with its starkly beautiful setting, and reel them in with its fascinating characters. While others look toward the revival of technology to save them, Petrel’s humanity in the face of brutal ideology makes her the perfect heroine. Two talking ship’s rats make splendid companions for Petrel; Tanner’s knack with vivid names and textured dialect help to complete the intriguing worldbuilding. An artfully crafted adventure that’s equal parts thought-provoking and thrilling.’ Kirkus STARRED review, May 2015
‘A carefully structured plot foreshadows the dramatic climax and reveals secrets at just the right time, keeping readers engaged throughout. Tanner’s evocative prose allows readers to feel every dark, noisy crevice of the ship as well as the chill of the frozen wasteland that surrounds it. Unique, fully-realized characters add cross-gender appeal. VERDICT: Tanner, author of the “Keepers” series (Delacorte), has created a strong start to a new trilogy that will have readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.’ Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY for School Library Journal. STARRED review, June 2015
‘The world of Ice Breaker is wonderfully realised: the clanking engines, rusted walkways and icy upper decks of the ship make for vivid settings. There is suspense and danger, and the characterisation is very human and ultimately moving … The first in a new series, Ice Breaker should appeal to middle- and upper-primary readers who love adventure, suspense and strange worlds.’ Four and a half stars, Australian Bookseller and Publisher, Sept 2013
‘Tanner’s portrayal of a culture that has lost its way, as well as conflicts between science and faith, provides a complex, thought-provoking backdrop to Petrel’s tale of self-reliance and Fin’s crisis of loyalties. These interior journeys are just one part of a fast-paced adventure featuring talking rats, a rusting mazelike setting, and growing tension, which leaves things wide open for the next installment of the Hidden trilogy.’ Publishers Weekly (USA) May 2015
‘Not since I read Obernewtyn trapped in a tent in rainy Yamba in 1988, have I been so entranced by a fantasy novel. From the very first page of Ice Breaker, Book One in the Hidden Series, Lian Tanner transports us utterly to a crystalline, arctic environment. … The Big Questions – What does it mean to be human? Do we dare to care for and connect with others? What will the price of betrayal be? What is true and worth fighting for? – provide philosophical depth to a startlingly intelligent novel. But, these layers of politics and philosophy are skilfully interwoven with rich, complex characterisation and a dramatic plot that drives forward with relentless momentum. The crisp, spare, yet poetic prose quite takes our breath away.‘ Jenni Connor, CBCA Tas blog
‘[M]anages to combine all the best elements of Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy and Science Fiction whilst remaining totally original in voice, plot, character and structure.’ 2013 Aurealis Award judges.