Jan 30, 2012

Review: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

4 ice cream sandwiches (trying to think of a cold cookie...)

Cover Love:  It is eye catching but the whole book I felt it was misleading.  This makes it look magical and really adventurous.  By the end, though I felt it was just fine!  Plus that can be any character and the cover screams boy book even though the main character is a girl.  Bonus!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
After seeing everyone get copies at BEA last year it was on my radar.  Then it was nominated for an Edgar award, so I knew I had to read it.  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

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?

I Kept Reading Because: I was caught up in the story!

Romance?:  A little, but not for Solveig.

What I Liked (& Didn't):
First of I didn't think I would like this near as much because it is set on foreign soil, not always my favorite setting.  However, this one is set in the past which helped.  I also didn't think I would like the "bottle" aspect, a small group of characters in an isolated, trapped setting.  But I found I really liked this!  I didn't want anyone else intruding.

If I was reviewing like Forever Young Adult, I would give them two bonuses:  Game of Thrones and Thor.  As I was reading I kept thinking if Game of Thrones, with the weather, the isolation, the traitor and the myths/religion.  The religion and myths were all about Thor and Odin which is a selling point I know I will be able to use to get many readers interested in picking it up!

There was plenty of action, but more intrigue and tension.  The author does a great job of amping that up.  When the traitor starts causing problems, everyone is suspect.  And things just go from bad to worse.  This is when Solveig begins to realize the power of words and that she too has a gift.

There are twists!  I love a book that takes you a new direction.  I kind of suspected the main traitor, but there was more to that story that I didn't see coming.

The first part loved along okay.  But it was really setting up for the last third, which I could not put down!  I read really late to finish and was very satisfied.

To Sum Up:  A great middle grade read with lots of tension and mystery and mythology.  Will be an easy book to get many of my students interested in reading!

Book bought for my school library.


  1. This just made my day! I've been wanting to read more MG lately, but nothing has really caught my eye. Your review just prompted me to add Icefall to my library holds list! The FYA bonus factors made me laugh, too :)

    1. Thanks so much Katie! I hope you like it too!

  2. Gotta have this one! Great review, Jana. :-)

  3. I keep seeing this one, and he's local too! For shame. I must get my hands on a copy.

    1. This one made me want to read The Clockwork Three. I love discovering a new author!