Reviewed by Amanda Allalunis

When Solveig’s father trapped her, her brother and sister, and a band of restless, barbaric warriors, in an ice-packed hidden fortress, he thought he had taken all the precautious necessary to keep his legacy, and therefore his kingdom, safe from harm. But when it becomes clear that a traitor is trapped in the ice with the rest of the family, the question suddenly becomes if Solveig and her family can even survive the winter.

Yep, Icefall from Matthew Kirby is that dramatic – but Kirby’s writing is actually good enough to support the drama. I am really, really busy, but Icefall managed to grab my interest and keep it until I finished the book. I think what I enjoyed most about the novel was its unpredictability. At first glance it appears to be an action/fantasy novel but Kirby manages to take the story far beyond an action point of view.

While it’s true that Solveig and her family are attempting to survive the reality of a traitor in their mix, the novel also highlights a community’s struggle against starvation, against freezing to death, against boredom, and against a difficult life in general. Icefall is a tale so expertly woven that it’s difficult to separate the undeniable action of the story from the realistic and heartfelt human connections one finds on nearly every page.

Solveig may possibly be my favorite heroine of all time. Essentially ignored by her father, and relied upon by the rest of her family, this young woman is forced to come of age and find herself under some pretty extreme conditions. As a claustrophobic person myself, I could literarily feel the walls closing in on Solveig, and I literally couldn’t put the book down once Kirby got the story moving. All in all, I would recommend Icefall to any action novel lover, not just the pre-teen and teen market for which the novel was designed.

Rating: 4.5/5

Amanda is mommy, freelance writer, and blogger in her spare time. If you like this review, be sure to check out the blog at Giveaway Blogdom or take a minute to read her most recent article on Childhood Vaccinations.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Scholastic Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.