Eads of a mystery novel with a coming of age tale The former comes from Solveig herself the type of person she is and how her uiet personality surfaces in her own narrative Even though the plot of the novel speaks of horrible wondrous things like treason and murder her narrative conveys those almost in a subdued way that is all the powerful for all the emotional punches that hides beneath I also loved how unpredictable the mystery was at one point I suspected everybody and when the final revelation came I felt it was believableFor all its uietness though when the story reaches its climax it is out of this world awesome it is when the story turns truly epic as though the characters have become the creatures of legend themselves Given how Solveig s story is also about the power of words the power of storytelling this was not only fitting but also extremely coolOn the CharactersAna The characters are so well developed the vast majority of them has depth as the days pass in their confinement the we learn about them and the I grew to love them all as characters even if I didn t exactly love them as people because of their weakness and strengths I loved the relationships between Solveig and her close family and friends as well as the budding relationship with Alric the skald and Hake the beserker I might or might not have lost my heart forever somewhere between the twoHeck even the animals had distinct personalities and this is no small feat Yes Hilda the Goat and Munnin the Raven I am looking at youBut of course the greatest character is Solveig and this is her coming of age Every step she takes toward being her own person is a step that comes with potential heartbreak Every single action comes with deciding to act even as these decisions are not made lightlyDo you now what I loved the best about Solveig and her arc That she is a female character with agency even though for all intents and purposes as a female character in this particular historical context she feels she has none I love how Matthew Kirby explores the possibility of a girl wanting expecting and achieving when nothing is expected from her and all within the realm of believability And to me speaks volumes about this author s talentThea Ahh the characters I LOVED Solveig so so so much More than anything else Icefall is Solveig s book as the mild mannered sister chooses to become a skald and discovers the deep strength that lies within In fact Solveig might be one of my favorite literary heroines of the year because of the very reasons that Ana mentions despite everything to the contrary Solveig finds a new path in a world where it seems women have no options This is an interesting juxtaposition with the tragic elder sister Asa who with all her beauty and grace is coveted and trapped by duty yet finds a different way to make choices for her life As Asa comes to accept her own strength she faces her greatest and most daunting challenge her father This tense relationship defines so much of Solveig s character so when she finally finds her voice it so deeply movingBeyond Solveig I loved the depth and nuance to all the characters from the young and brave Harald who so yearns to be strong enough to protect his family and live up to his father s example to the burgeoning warrior Raudi who is trapped between being a boy and a man I loved Alric the skald with his gilded tongue and ability to use stories to inspire and change but most of all I loved Hake the captain of the berserker army an unexpected friend and loyal heart to the endEven the villains of the piece are treated as honest characters with understandable intentions which is no small feat Like Ana I am completely convinced of Mr Kirby s talent as an author and a storyteller with this expertly crafted taleFinal Thoughts Observations RatingAna Icefall was an unexpected
Surprise I Loved This Book I loved this book it is definitely a notable read of 2011 Plus as soon as I finished it I went
and bought this author s first book The Clockwork ThreeThea I adored this uiet beautiful book from beginning bought this author s first book The Clockwork ThreeThea I adored this uiet beautiful book from beginning end and cannot wait to read from Matthew J Kirby Easily one of my notable reads of 2011 if not in my top 10 favorites of the year With all the Rick Riordan obsessiveness and the focus on GreekRomanEgyptian mythology I was REALLY excited to find a book that focuses on Norse mythology Also really excited to find out that it was a mystery and not set in contemporary times and with a strong female protagonist and beautiful writingI listened to the audio book on this way without Dr. Simon Forman knowing at first that it s narrated by my FAVORITEST audio book narrator Jenna Lamia and it was a great way to experience the book First because a lot of the nameswords are not super intuitive to pronounce of course the word skald is pronounced scowled and second because Jenna Lamia is THE BEST at internal monologue and thoughtful heroines I LOVED that this book centers around a mystery and Norse mythology but at its core it s a book about the POWER of STORIES It explores a lot about what it means for a story to be true and what it means to be a storyteller I also loved how the author wove in the Norse mythology to parallel the journey taken by its main characters Solveig is such a lovely wonderful character and I want to find out what happens to her after the book endsThis book also has the distinction of being able to transcend age I am pretty sure that a strong 4th grade reader will appreciate this as much as a 10th grader would I am reading this book with my 9 12 year old book club and I hope they like it It seems there is no one I can fully trust no one without a secret concealed inside themselves This uote describes half of the bookEveryone has secrets And this bookeeps showing thatThe writing is beautiful easy and fast to read It never gets boringThe art of telling a story plays a big part in this bookEven though there isn t much action this book Serving Up Secrecy (Ladies of Westside keeps you guessing who may the traitor beThe story has a steady pace that focuses in the fact that we don tnow anyone as well as we think and that we always find out new things about even the closest people to usIt also focuses on the growing up subject and realizing your place in the world and A Wartime Nurse knowing yourself leaning that being YOU is enoughOne of the things this book shows is that our first impressions are almost always wrong and maybe the one we judge the most end up at the end being our closest of friends and alliesThe main character Solveig is very naive yet very smart She doesn t think highly of herself She feels unneeded by everyone and unloved by her fatherSolveig is a gifted storyteller and a very realistic characterAnd have a slow development but that allows us to see her growthI really liked how she narrates the storyEvery character in this book is complex and are very realistic with their fears regrets and problemsSolveig and Hake s relationship is my favourite from this book They are so good to each other Family not always comes from blood And her relationship with her little brother is so lovingI loved almost all of the relationships in this book And how I fear that day for Inow that when I look into my betrayer s face I will see someone I thought I Split knew And I will still love them One of my favourite uotes This book has many beautiful moments. Cting theing'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 ingdo.
Matthew J. Kirby í 5 reviewYoung adult fiction tied to myths and stories Yep that s me And it turned out to be a gripping and imaginative story with great characters and a uniue setting Kirby really explores issues of trust in a community pushed to the brink while at the same telling a powerful coming of age story about a child awkwardly trying to find her identity in contrast to the beautiful sister and the young brother and heir to the throneThree reasons you should read this one1 Great characters Starting with Solveig this story is a mix of great characters As noted above Solveig struggles to find her place in the world She is plain and has no clear place in the hierarchy of her community Her sister is the beautiful princess who reminds everyone of her beautiful mother and whose beauty brings status to her father the ing Her brother is the young heir to the throne full of youthful energy and already showing signs of strength and courage But it turns out she does have gifts and these will play a important role in the life of the community than anyone would have predictedIn addition you have Alric the sklad who is mentoring Solveig but who seems to lack any clear allegiances or commitments except his own safety And Per the warrior Solveig idolized who she thought was different from all the rest but who is revealed to be all too human and like everyone else with suspect motives and desires Or Hake the frightening berserker who of all people seems worthy of trust The interaction of these and a number of interesting side characters as well makes for fascinating reading2 Great setting The tension starts from the very beginning with the idea that the ice flow will trap this party in place over the course of the winter As the harsh winter descends Kirby ratchets up the tension with intrigue and violence Trapped between the fjord and the glacier and forced to live and eat in one building the royal family shares space with warriors and servants Soon nerves are frayed and friendships are threatened This also serves as a great stage for the story elements as Solveig struggles to come to terms with being a skald and her gifts and identity The sense of being trapped the picture of a community pushed to the edge the harsh reality of the Norse world are all captured here3 The power of story Kirby not only weaves a great story himself but artfully explores the power of story in real life He shows how we use stories to find our place in the larger world and to make sense of ideas emotions history and relationships Stories can alter our mood change our perspective and unite a community among other things irby both shows this with his own skillful narrative and highlights it within the story using the Norse myths and the stories Alric and Solveig tellAs should be clear from the above Kirby weaves a great tale There is historical detail psychological insight mystery intrigue and And of course there is a climatic conclusionA great story for readers young and old Although this book is not very action packed I found it very engaging While it may not have a lot going on in terms of plot it builds suspense well has a cast of likable characters and ultimately has a nice message about the power of storytelling I really enjoyed it Longer review coming eventually maybe Solveig her beautiful older sister and her younger brother heir to the throne have been sent to an isolated fort to be safe while their father battles an enemy who wanted to marry her sister With them are a skald or bard some family servants and some soldiers including a berserker Solveig thinks that as the middle child she has nothing to offer she is plain she is a girl but the skald tells her she could learn to be one of the few female skalds Thus over the long winter when they are closed in by the winter Solveig studies the craft of the skaldBut danger is everywhere Solveig dreams of enemies coming to attack Someone else is sharing the snowy land with them and they may be housing a traitor or than one More and Solveig feels she is walking on very thin ice as danger and death stalk each of themIf you re interested in Norse history and their way of life this is a great book to read The many small mysteries eep the tension building through the book until it s almost unbearable I also read Kirby s THE LOST KINGDOM and liked it I m definitely going to eep an eye out for his books This was a different book than I expected I d talked to Matt Kirby about it a bit which is how I scored an ARC but for all our talk of skalds and eddas there was very little talk of plot For instance I was under the impression perhaps based on the cover pic that it was an adventure as in the main character goes on a uest and that it had fantastical elementsNopeNotice I m not saying that this is a bad thing but it is definitely a different thing I will be honest I am frankly wary of books that take on vikings or any Nordic settings This is my heritage this is what my degree is in and I am so FRAKKING SICK of vikings being portrayed as big nose picking brutes or the medieval Scandinavian people as stupid and living in sualor It is particularly bad in middle grade b image error More people need to read this Really it s such a great book The writing was uniue in a way that I liked It wasn t overly flourished using big words and lenghty sentences to convey a message and yet it added to the story s magic When people scoff about YA
AND MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS I THINKmiddle grade
Books I Think TheseI think these of books They are worth reading even though it s written for a younger audience I just don t now how authors can do itIn this book we have Solveig who is the second daughter of the Perfect Girl Evolution Vol. 6 king but because she isn t pretty enough to be of use with marriage like her sister she feels inadeuate The setting is in a fortress that is surrounded by mountains and they are trapped for the winter There is a war going on outside these mountains and they were sent there for protection but they soon discover that it s anything but safe There is a traitor in their midst I would say who my favorite characters are and why but I might give something away So I ll just say my favorite characters are Solveig and her little brother who is also the heir to the throne Herald He is easy going and has a playfulness that still belongs to young boys Herald has an effortless way with people but he is still young and wants so much to prove himself And Solveig Solveig Solvieg who doesn t love an underestimated underdog She has to discover her self worth during this winter She has to be stronger than ever now and realize her talents The Berserkers are big thug looking guys that at first sight seem barbaric but Solvieg has a way of seeing the best in people I grew to care about them as Solveig does and she grows to love everyone in the fortress even though shenows one of them has betray her those she loves and her poeple Everyone is a suspect only Solveig and Herald you are sure about and when they are revealed Solveig is sad than angry because it doesn t matter she still loves them I was left guessing right up until the reveal but that isn t a surprise I m not usually one of those reader who figures out the twist and tries to look for clues With self discovery betrayal twists treachery love Nordic myths forgiveness and even a little action there 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 unendin. ,
S a lot to look forward to in this book Please try it if you are at all interested in fairy tales And how I fear that day for I now that when I look into my betrayer s face I will see someone I thought I new And I will still love themA Nordic Dark Ties (Broken Saints Society king has gone to war To protect his three children while he is away he has sent them with a small household to a remote steading Later just before the fjord freezes over and shuts the steading in for the winter he sends reinforcements a force of berserkers who exist uneasily alongside the others who dwell thereOur heroine is Solveig the middle child of theing Her beautiful older sister Asa will bring a great alliance when she marries Her younger brother Harald will be a warrior and become Um Fogo Eterno king one day Solveig plain and seemingly unremarkable feels overlooked by her father She is however a talented storyteller and theing s skald Alric takes her under his wing and begins teaching her the art This training provides much thought provoking debate on the power of stories and the role of a skald and as Icefall progresses Solveig wonders if she will need to challenge Alric s teachings in order to be true to herselfFor Solveig and everyone else at the steading is in mortal danger The group is now shut in by the ice and a traitor lurks in their midst Matthew J Kirby perfectly creates an unbearable tension Murder and sabotage stalk the hall Everyone suspects everyone else even their own loved ones Food is scarce and the only thing that alleviates the food insecurity is when people die leaving for the others food that is now salted with guilt And as terrifying as the winter is Solveig has had a nightmare that seems to predict even worse disaster when the spring thaw comes Intertwined with the main narrative are flashbacks in which Solveig tells anecdotes from her past reminiscences that tell us about the characters the suspects and why they are so dear to her heartThe characters are well drawn Solveig has a fantastic coming of age journey beginning as an insecure girl and becoming a heroine worthy of legend I also can t go without mentioning Hake captain of the berserkers gruff and dangerous but with layers upon layers of depth beneath the surface Every major character is complex Even characters who do despicable things are portrayed in three dimensions and have realistic motives for what they do and realistic weaknesses They may be the villains of Solveig s story but they see themselves as the heroes of their own an idea that Alric touches upon in his teachingAll of this great storytelling and characterization is enhanced even by beautiful writing Kirby has a great ear for metaphor All of the sky looks like a burnt log in the morning hearth cold spent and ashen There s a good rhythm to the prose too making it feel like a story Solveig is telling us by the fireI very nearly missed out on Icefall twice I received an ARC last year but was swamped and Lawn Boy Returns knew my co reviewer Bill see his reviewwas a Kirby fan and passed it along to him and then after reading his stellar review selfishly wished I d held on to it Then recently I checked it out from the library butept not getting around to it until I got an overdue notice and decided to hurry up and read it before I took it back I m so very very glad I did Don t make my mistake people don t put off reading this book Icefall is stunningly good First ImpressionsThea When I started Icefall I expected an engaging YA fantasy novel I certainly was not expecting to be so enthralled by this beautiful breathtaking elegiac tale A fable of family loyalty honor a story about the strength of truth a lovingly crafted ode to the craft of storytelling Icefall is all of these things In the shortest plainest terms I loved this bookAna Icefall was not at all what I expected the cover is uite misleading I thought promising the grandeur of a Fantasy setting whilst in reality the
Setting Has Very Fewhas very few trappings and the story itself is of the uiet slow Yolandas Genius kind theind that slowly yet surely shows its true face it began like any other YA novel only to end as one of the strongest stories I read this year I too loved this bookOn the PlotThea The second daughter of a great King Solveig has always felt overlooked forgotten and insignificant Her eldest sister Asa is so beautiful with her hair like gold and skin like cream that a war is started for her hand Her younger brother Harald is strong and brave and all The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty know that he will make another great King when their father s time has passed But uiet meek Solveig is neither beautiful nor strong she is merely Solveig When a great war is waged between theing his a rival warlord Gunnlaug Solveig Asa and Harald are sent to a remote fjord with a group of the ing s most trusted warriors guard and berserker alike to stay out the duration of the war As the weeks pass and the fjord freezes over the group settles in for the winter isolated and supposedly safeuntil they find a pair of footprints they cannot account for in the snow First there is doubt then there is poison Soon it becomes clear to the group that there is a traitor in their midst and only the uiet observant Solveig can find the truthIcefall the second novel from Matthew J Kirby is an utterly fantastic enthralling feat of storytelling At first glance it s a story about a group of people snowed in for the winter with a traitor in their midst On another level it is a tale about a royal family and a shy overlooked girl coming into her own and learning that she is so much than anyone
believes On yet another level Icefall is Scheherazadian a story within a story memories woven together toOn yet another level Icefall is Scheherazadian a story within a story memories woven together to a larger heartbreaking tapestry What can I say about this book to convey my awe and love for its telling I loved the integration of Norse mythology from the rich oral history tradition of skalds to the awe inspiring and terrifying power wielded by berserker warriors Most of all I loved the writing Take for example the truths about storytelling A story is not a thing A story is an act It only exists in the brief moment of its telling The uestion 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 nowAnd Until now I thought only of what stories could do in their moment I was the ploughman turning the hearts of my audience like soil thinking I could bend the earth to my will But stories have a uieter and subtle power than that Now I see that I am also the ploughman s wife walking behind him dropping seeds into the earth leaving them to grow in meaning I realize that every story I have ever heard is a part of me deeply rooted whispering behind my thoughtsWhat else can I say I do not want to give away because Icefall is a lush stark beauty of a book written in the style of Marillier and Shinn I loved the mystery element of the novel which I think comes to a fitting if sad end I loved the relationships and characters But on that in a bitAna Yes yes what Thea said I loved everything about it its several layers of storytelling the different aspects of the tale part mystery part coming of age part something else altogether the characters and the writing itselfTo me the greatest strength of Icefall lies eually on its uietness and on how it combines beautifully the thr. G 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 anotherThose charged with prote.