Children’s Action and Adventure
Critically acclaimed author Matthew J. Kirby deftly weaves a stunning coming-of-age tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave readers racing breathlessly to the end.
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. Solveig must also embark on a journey to find her own path. Yet, a malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, as 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 survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he manages to destroy a kingdom?
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Heidi’s Hot Take
Based on the cover, I thought there would be magic in the story. Though there isn’t, I still absolutely loved this historical fiction story. I really related to Solveig’s struggle as the middle child who felt out of place and not as important in her family dynamics. I loved watching her grow from just a shadow trying to fit in by helping where she could, to blossoming into a heroine who inspired others to be greater than they thought they could be.
The Nordic setting and the story were also fascinating and well-researched. The teases of mysticism and prophecy as well as the question of whether it was real or whether people’s belief was enough to make it seem like it could be real are pretty heavy concepts for a book aimed at pre-teens and teens. I’ve been on kinda a nordic kick with my entertainment lately and really appreciated the level of research the author did, given this was written 10 years before most of the stuff I’ve been enjoying.
An excellent coming-of-age tale with real depth for the right readers and a lot of interesting action and suspense for the average reader. Highly recommend.
Until Next Time,