Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

IcefallIt is very difficult to write a review of a book you love. For books you merely like it is easy to list all the good points and wrap up the review with a pithy phrase. For a book you love, you find yourself jumping up and down and saying “It’s great!!!” and shoving copies of it at people. This does not work when you are writing an online review.

Solveig is the king’s younger daughter. Her older sister is beautiful and her younger brother is the heir. Solveig thinks she has nothing to give or to be, but when she and her siblings and retainers are sent into hiding at a protected fjord while her father fights a war, everything changes. Solveig’s perception of the familiy’s warriors, servants, and even her sister slip in the face of the devastatingly hard winter they go through, and in the process she learns something about herself — though this discovery does not play out in the way the reader is expecting.

Kirby’s prose is beautiful, and fully evokes the Norse culture and cold winter setting.  His retellings of myths are skillfully woven into the narrative and never seem like afterthoughts, or take the reader out of  Solveig’s story.

Give this book to any child who liked Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud, or who is fascinated by Norse myths — they’ll find it just as stirring as I did.

Posted by: Sarah

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