I adored this incredible adventure which completely drew me in with its rich and wonderful world-building and gorgeous descriptive language, not to mention the depth of the character-building which made getting to know the protagonists a heart-warming experience. The children really captured my heart.
Stella Snowflake Pearl is the adoptive daughter of the explorer fairyologist Felix. She was found on the Icelands as a toddler, and wants nothing more than to be an explorer and, in particular, a navigator. There’s only one problem: girls are not allowed into the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. Luckily for Stella, her father is enlightened and decides to fight against the restriction of the Club in order to take Stella on her first expedition shortly after her twelfth birthday rather than have her sent to finishing school by his sister. Her father is full of sage advice:
It doesn’t do to be too afraid of life and taking chances.
Stella looks unlike any of the other children as she has very white skin and hair. Yet again, her father offers her excellent advice:
It is no great achievement to be the same as everybody else, Stella. Being different is a perfectly fine thing to be, I promise you.
Stella joins the Expedition to the Icelands where she soon finds herself separated from the adults when the Ice Bridge which they are crossing collapses, leaving the adults behind. Her only companions are the three other children on the Expedition. Shay is a wolf whisperer with his own protector, a shadow wolf; Ethan is a magician from the Ocean Squad Explorers’ Club who finds making friends difficult; and Beanie is a neuro-diverse trainee medic with a penchant for jellybeans.
The children go on the most incredible adventure across the Icelands, full of danger and excitement and meet some brilliantly imaginative creatures including frosties and a carnivorous cabbage. Secrets are revealed and friendships blossom as the children battle to return to the rendezvous point, but will they make it in time, or find themselves trapped in the Icelands?
Whilst this story is full of fast-paced action and dangerous situations which kept me irresistibly turning the next page, I also loved how beautifully and realistically it portrays the relationships between the children, who all have past heartache, as they get to know each other, reveal their secrets and fears and come to trust and rely upon each other to survive.
I loved this story so much that I immediately bought the next two in the series, Explorers on Witch Mountain and Explorers on Black Ice Bridge. I am really looking forward to continuing the adventures of these wonderful explorers!