Summary: When Empire Oil comes to Ashley’s Northwest Territories community intending to drill, Ashley takes extreme action to prevent them from following through and wrecking the land. Afterwards Ashley’s drumming group is invited to play at Carnegie Hall in New York, and Empire Oil’s willingness to pay the cost of their travel puts Ashley on edge. Turns out Jack Masters, vice-president of Empire Oil, has a secret agenda to save the world from Climate Change in a radical manner that involves Ashley, and she and her friends find themselves on an unexpected journey that could mean the end of all life as they know it.
Number of Pages: 303
Age Range: 14-16
Review: In the sequel to On Thin Ice, Ashley is as staunch in her fight against Climate Change as ever. But now she’s fighting a big oil company in an effort to save her community and their way of life as much as she can despite the changing environment.
What follows is an unexpected adventure – Ashley’s drumming group is invited to play in New York where Ashley meets Jim Masters, an oil man himself who asks her to speak at the United Nations. An eccentric with his own personal grief issues, Masters is a puppet-master working everyone’s strings in a plan that is both admirable and vindictive. I had trouble keeping up at times with everything that happened, but in the end I could see the bigger picture which I appreciated.
My favourite character in Bastedo’s sequel is Sila, also known as Earth. She’s someone who should be respected and often isn’t, but I grew to enjoy how Bastedo paints her as vengeful and intentional in her actions. I don’t think she meant to kill Ashley’s dog, but I do question the randomness of the rain during the concert. Personalizing Earth’s actions gives her depth, and made me think twice about how Earth would be treated if she were a person instead of a planet. Bastedo makes a valid point with his story by opening up the conversation about how badly we treat the place where we live.
Sila’s Revenge is a stand alone, informative read about the subject of Climate Change, but since it’s more action based reading On Thin Ice first greatly helps develop Ashley as a character. I’d recommend it for fans of William Bell’s writing.
“The world had a beginning called the Mother of All Things.
Once you have found the Mother, you can know her children.
Having known the children, hold tightly to the Mother.
Your whole life will be preserved from peril.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching from Sila’s Revenge by Jamie Bastedo, page 3
“Cars, streets, skyscrapers vaporized in a soft green mist. Forests sprang out of the glow. They were broken by sprawling marshes, sparkling beaver ponds, and lush meadows dotted with grazing deer. A pair of bald eagles soared about a high rocky ridge that formed the the backbone of a living, breathing island.” – Ashley from Sila’s Revenge by Jamie Bastedo, page 47
“‘Many of us treat the Earth like a driverless spaceship drifting aimlessly around the sun. But the Earth is much more than this. Life is not just a passenger on this ship but an active participant, controlling the very conditions that sustain it. Life itself created its atmosphere and it is life that regulates it. The atmosphere, oceans, soils, plants, and animals are like the organs in our bodies. Call it a superorganism. Call it Gaia, after the Greek Earth goddess, or Terra, the Roman equivalent. Call it what you like. By whatever name, the Earth itself is alive. It is a planet sized being that knows how to take care of itself.'” – Doctor Livingstone from Sila’s Revenge by Jamie Bastedo, page 96
“‘You may think I’m crazy but I love the cold. I have to laugh when I walk these streets. It’s barely cold enough to snow and New Yorkers are bundled up like it’s forty below. For us, cold isn’t some pain to ruffle our hairdos. It’s not something to get over with like the flu. Cold is something we celebrate. It defines our land, our culture, who we are. This may sound funny but we can’t live without cold.
‘When cold comes each fall, when the snow comes and the ice starts forming on the sea, we’re happy. We know we can soon travel across the ice, hunt seals and caribou, and enjoy the land together.'” – Ashley speaking to the United Nations about Climate Change from Sila’s Revenge by Jamie Bastedo, page 100
Sila’s Revenge by Jamie Bastedo is published by Red Deer Press, (2010).