Plot: Barnette crafts a compelling work of ancient historical fiction, imagining an epic trek across the land bridge of Beringia. The story unfolds with notes of sublimity as well as moments of tense action.
Prose/Style: Barnette's language offers lyrical and smooth descriptions of the Ice Age world sparsely populated by early humans and ancient mammals. Simple dialogue suits the protagonists, though frequent, factual references--while entirely fascinating as background knowledge--can sometimes impede upon the organic storytelling unfolding within an exquisite, often brutal landscape.
Originality: This narrative is highly unique in terms of its ancient setting and its early human protagonists. Fiction readers with an interest in anthropology and Earth science will relish this highly researched and visceral offering.
Character Development: Onna and Harjo are equally compelling characters; their respective roles are seemingly authentic within the context of the largely speculative storytelling. Their relationship is one of symbiosis and collaboration that strengthens as the pair face the wild uncertainty of their journey and future.
Date Submitted: August 13, 2019