Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Edgar Nominee for Best Juvenile Review: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Every year when I read the Edgar nominees for Best Juvenile, there's a book in there that... Well, a book that I fail, to tell you the truth. There are some books that I just don't seem to get. This year that book is Icefall.

The story is a Nordic middle-grade fantasy. We follow Solveig, her brother (the crown prince) and sister, who are awaiting their father's return from battle. They're stuck in a fortress, while under guard by berserkers. These warriors are pretty shady, and it becomes clear after some time that there's a traitor in the fortress--someone out to destroy the kingdom.

As I said: I failed Icefall as a reader. Between the cadence of the prose and the slow-moving plot, it felt like the kind of book an avid fantasy reader would appreciate (note: this book gets excellent reviews on Goodreads, so it really is me). My love is more with the whodunit and thrillers.

That said, once I got into the story, I loved the cinematic writing--I felt like I was right there. I hope you'll give this book a try, and tell me what I missed.

Verdict: best for a middle-grade fantasy reader; unique look at Nordic times for a curriculum tie-in

Mystery quotient: 3 out of 5; there was a mystery in the plot, but slow pace and historical setting drowned out the whodunit feel.

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