Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: October 2011
Pages: 336
Source: Library
For: Fun (and then for Cybils)

Solveig and her siblings are sent for their own safety to a small frozen fjord while their father the king goes off to war.  But this isolated place may not be as safe as they first imagined as the small group of servants and warriors appears to be harboring a traitor.  Can they figure out who it is before it's too late?

Things I Liked:
I read this one at the very end of 2011 and you probably don't remember it was one of my favorites of the year.  The whole experience of reading this book blew me away (or more accurately entranced me).  The book is very atmospheric.  I loved how the characters are in this claustrophobic icy prison and the tension is slowly building to find out who among them is the traitor.  Every detail on every page seemed to draw you into this place of unimaginable cold and mounting fear and mistrust. I fell in love with Solveig and the things she learns and the ways she grows up.  Not your usual heroine, she is a plain middle child with no great purpose in life.  It is during this winter imprisonment that she begins to find a place and grow and accept who she is and what she can do.  I love her growth over the novel.  The whole story is constructed so carefully and it comes together so well that I almost never wanted them to leave their frozen prison.  An absolute gem for me!  Some good quotes:
Can your sword grant immortality?  Because my voice can.  You would defend the king's body, an honorable endeavor, but I would defend his legend.  Which do you think will outlast the other, Captain? p 19
A story is not a thing.  The question you must ask is what a story has the power to do.  The truth of something you do is very different from the truth of something you know.  p 64
Stories give you a way to see things.  A way to understand the events of your life.  Even if you don't realize it while you're hearing the tale. p173
The weeks are relentless.  The days are stretching, lengthening, as though someone is spinning the gray wool of winter-light into golden thread.  p 183
Things I Didn't Like:
I honestly can't remember anything I didn't like about this book.  I know some of my fellow Cybils panelists thought there were too many characters to keep track of, but it didn't bothered me.  It might move a bit slowly for some as well, but I didn't notice that either.  I just loved this one through and through!

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

s-factor: none 

mrg-factor: X 
maybe a bit implied, nothing on page

v-factor: ->-> 
with berserkers, what do you expect?

Overall rating: ***** 

What book do you adore that seems to get very little attention?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. So glad you enjoyed this one!

    But too many characters to keep track of? One of my reservations about this one, from a distanced, critical persepective, as opposed to the happy reader one that dominated, was that there were too many characters around who were an indistinguishable mass of generic Viking Warrior--nothing there to keep track of!

    1. Yeah, there were a LOT of very similar Viking Warrior characters - perhaps that what they meant. I personally didn't even notice or care - just enjoyed it :)


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