Monday, April 16, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Icefall

Today’s pick: 

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Scholastic, 2011

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.

Other Info:

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).

Other books by this author include:

The Clockwork Three

 For more, check out Matthew J. Kirby’s blog.

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:

  • Joanne Fritz
  • Shannon Messenger
  • Shannon O'Donnell
  • Myrna Foster
  • Ally Beecher
  • Barbara Watson
  • Deb Marshall
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast
  • Gina Carey
  • Nye Louwen - My Spirit
  • Laurisa White Reyes
  • Marshall and Emiline
  • Dorine White


    1. I hadn't heard of this book and it sounds really good. Thanks for spotlighting it!

    2. I've had this on my to-read list for a while, but keep pushing it down in favor of other titles... I'm glad to see your review of it - maybe I'll read it next!

      1. Oh, do move it up! It's got such lovely writing, I'm sure you'll appreciate it.

    3. I love books based on mythologies. I'll have to check this one out!

    4. I've heard good things about this one but wasn't aware of the storyline until you explained it here. It sounds like something my son would love.

    5. I've heard so much about this book. I'm going to have to pick it up soon. BTW - thank you for adding me to you MMGM list. :)

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    7. I'm glad you featured this book; I really enjoyed it. Loved the characters, the setting and the whole concept. Great MG read!

      1. Vonna, I really enjoyed it. I'm now trying to nudge my 12-year-old to read it, but she's having trouble getting into it.

    8. Ooo, thanks for sharing this one. Have it on my Ipad, need to read it!

    9. I've heard great things about this book, but haven't read it yet. I'm especially intrigued by your last line about the lovely way the author uses words to create atmosphere and tension.

    10. I love the idea that it's based on Norse mythology. Unfortunately the slow pace at the beginning would be a deal killer with my 9 yo. He'll use any excuse to quit reading a book. :(

    11. I started reading this book because I love mythology and I love Norway. (really want to work at the international school there!) But it was so slow that I still haven't finished it yet. I do plan on going back and finishing it this summer.

      1. My 12-year-old daughter thinks it's slow too, and she's put it down a couple of times, even though I've tried to encourage her to read it. I loved the writing, though.


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