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James Houston.
Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.
149pp., cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-7710-4255-8. CIP.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Nadiya Blaine.

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Ice Swords is a sequel to Frozen Fire (McClelland and Stewart, 1977) and Black Diamonds ¹. In this book, James Houston's two teenage heroes, Kayak and Mathew are involved in an undersea adventure. With the help of Jill, they learn to scuba dive so that they can study the habits of the narwhal whales. Once again, Houston throws in some interesting legends, sayings, and survival tips used by the Inuit. This information, volunteered by Kayak, the Inuit boy, brings the Inuit culture to life more than most history books.

As a story, however, Ice Swords lacks depth. There is not enough adventure in it, nor enough intricacies, to keep the reader in suspense or to sustain the reader's interest. The characters are not as well rounded as in his other two books. In fact, they all get along too well to be realistic. There is absolutely no conflict between the teenagers, who spend all their time with each other, during part of which they are cooped up in the base camp due to bad weather. The book will probably be of interest to young readers who have read the first two, or for purchase in order to complete the set for a library.

Nadiya Blaine, Bertie E.S., Ridgeway, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. X/3 1982, p. 161.

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