I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
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Matthew J. Kirby, author of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, deftly weaves a brand-new tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave readers racing breathlessly to the end. Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, as a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another. Those charged with protecting the king's children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father's watchful eye? Can Solveig survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he manages to destroy a kingdom? "A well-crafted story rich with emotion and intrigue. A thoroughly engaging read!" -- Brandon Mull, bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby is one of those books that upon closing I said out loud to the empty room ‘that was a really good book’ because I just have to vocalize my feelings sometimes to make them real. With Vikings, fjords, betrayals and middle child syndrome, Icefall is pretty much a book that hits my buzzer points of awesome.
Icefall by Matthew Kirby opens with the Viking king’s children, Solveig, Asa, and Harald waiting on a fjord for the king’s summons home and are slowly running out of food. You see, their father is at war with another Viking lord and so the fjord is safe for family. THEN Berserkers, which are these warriors who give up all entanglements and willing to lay their life on the line for the king, arrive unexpectedly and provide extra food and protection. YET betrayal will also arrive from an unexpected quarter.
Solveig, the middle child and main character of Icefall is not beautiful like her older sister Asa, nor is she so important to be the heir like her younger brother Harald. Yo, she has a super strong case of Middle Child Syndrome. Yet, Asa is not some annoying dolt or twit. She doesn’t spend the entire book whining about poor me, blah blah. Solveig finds strength in the power of stories and secretly, away from her father’s prying eyes, trains to be a skald, which is a story teller.
Friends, Solveig is my favorite type of main character. She is forging an identity for herself in Icefall. Solveig is loyal and steadfast. She is also kind to the servants and animals which speaks volumes for her character. I very much enjoyed reading her story and seeing her grow as she searches for the betrayer but also to create a place for herself in her father’s court.
Perhaps my favorite element besides the Vikings (fuckyeahVikings) were the stories. Solveig tells stories most of the nights at the fjord. They have meaning and purpose. The stories explain the history of the Norse Gods. Personally, I enjoy reading legends. I thought the myths artfully blended with the larger story in Icefall.
If you are interested in trying middle grade, love straight historical fiction with a twist of the fantastical, then you should definitely add Icefall by Matthew Kirby to your TBR pile, I promise it will be worth it.
Disclosure: Received for review.
This is a CYBILS book.