Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
From the Publisher: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, and 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 and unchallenged authority? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a king, his empire, and his children?
My Take:It was great to read a middle grade novel with a setting and mythology (Norse) that I hadn’t come across many times before. I loved the idea that Solveig, the daughter of a king, hides her identity and discovers that she has the talent to be a skald, or storyteller. She also is trying to solve a mystery: which one of her family’s protectors is a traitor? One thing that might put readers off is the slowish pace, but there’s a gradual build of tension in the story and it’s worth sticking with it. The characters seem so real that I got very caught up in what was happening. As a writer, I’d read this story again and again to absorb the lovely way the author uses words to create atmosphere and tension.
Matthew J. Kirby is an author and school psychologist.He will be writing Book 5 of the Infinity Ring series, an alternate-history time travel series for readers ages 8-12 written by multiple authors (similar to the The 39 Clues).
The Clockwork Three
For more, check out Matthew J. Kirby’s blog.
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