Icefall

Matthew J Kirby, Author
Matthew J. Kirby. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-27424-1
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Compact Disc - 978-0-545-35400-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61637-859-2
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Kirby follows The Clockwork Three with a tense mystery that blends history and Norse myth. Solveig—the plain and oft-ignored second daughter to a king away at war—has been sent to safety high in the fjords, along with her siblings, beautiful Asa and future heir Harald, and others loyal to her father. As winter closes in, food grows scarce, and tempers flare. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that one among them is a traitor. Their only diversion comes from the stories told by Alric, the resident skald, who takes on Solveig as an apprentice. With her ability to spin tales and find the truth, can Solveig uncover the traitor? Kirby turns in a claustrophobic, thought-provoking coming-of-age adventure that shows a young woman growing into her own, while demonstrating the power of myth and legend. Kirby’s attention to detail and stark descriptions make this an effective mood piece. Readers may be drawn in by the promise of action, which Kirby certainly fulfills, but they’ll be left contemplating the power of the pen versus the sword—or rather the story versus the war hammer. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
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