Review: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Hicklebees: 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? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

There is something ever so magical about middle grade fantasy. Rarely does it ever fail to pull me in and immerse me in prolific language and prodigious landscapes.

Icefall by Kirby was by far one of the best Norse MG fantasies I have ever read. The setting was brutal, the characters gruff and believable, I was able to sink into icy oblivion in the middle of the summer. Kirby’s story telling skills are incredibly verbose while not overwhelming the younger reader. I feel Kirby did an astounding job relating the viking culture and the religions and stories of Norse legend. I was swept away by Solveig and her story-telling scenes.

The mystery of who is sabotaging the fjord is incredibly believable and I had a great many theories that proved to be wrong while trying to decipher the whodunit. There are harsh moments, bloody battles and plenty of intense action to move the plot along. I was thoroughly dazzled by the pacing of the book and I felt like I read it in no time at all.

I think Icefall has re-readability stamina and readers will go back for a closer look at the culture and character development.

I urge you not to miss Icefall when it hits the shelves on October 1st. A brilliant icy way to begin the fall season.

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