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Icefall [Kindle Edition]

Matthew J. Kirby
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Matthew J. Kirby, author of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, deftly weaves a brand-new 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. 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?

"A well-crafted story rich with emotion and intrigue. A thoroughly engaging read!" -- Brandon Mull, bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series


Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for ICEFALL:

A 2012 Edgar Award Winner for Best Juvenile Mystery
A 2011 Agatha Award Nominee
New York Public Library 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
2012 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
Judy Lopez Memorial Award Winner

"[O]ne of the best reads of the season . . ." --DESERET NEWS

"[A] claustrophobic, thought-provoking coming-of-age adventure . . ." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"[A] taut, compelling mystery and survival story . . . Readers will be left thinking about this one long after the chill has left their bones." --BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS

"[A] superb mystery enriched with powerful, believable characters, plot, and setting, and guarantees that readers will be thoroughly engaged to the final word." --BOOKS TO BORROW, BOOKS TO BUY, Nationally Syndicated Column

"Interesting, well-developed characters abound. . . . [and] the chilly, claustrophobic, ancient setting is vividly created." --KIRKUS REVIEWS


Praise for THE CLOCKWORK THREE
"In this riveting historical fantasy . . . debut novelist Kirby has assembled all the ingredients for a rousing adventure, which he delivers with rich, transporting prose. Mixing fantasy and steampunk elements with subtle urban mythology, Kirby's immersive story can be read as a modern morality play or a satisfying stand-alone tale." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

"[M]emorable characters, hearty action, and palpable atmospherics." --BOOKLIST

About the Author

Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels ICEFALL, which won an Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, and THE CLOCKWORK THREE. He was born in Utah and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. Matthew is a school psychologist. He and his wife live in northern Idaho, where he is working on his next novel. Visit his website at www.matthewjkirby.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1485 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.; 1 edition (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005HE2ORQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ten little, nine little, eight little berserkers . . . October 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover
There's a certain breed of middle grade fiction novel for kids that defies easy categorization. Call them fantasies without fantasy. These strange little novels pop up from time to time encouraging readers to believe that they are reading about something fantastical without having to throw magic spells, ghosts, or singing teacups into the mix. Frances Hardinge's "Fly by Night" and "Fly Trap" fit this description. Ditto any book that really involves an alternate world. Now when I received my copy of Matthew Kirby's "Icefall" I had an inkling that it would definitely be that kind of book. This notion was confirmed when I flipped to the first entry in my advanced reader's galley and read the following classifications. They call it: "Action & Adventure", "Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic", and "Mysteries & Detective Stories". Highly amusing since there isn't much in a way of science fiction or fantasy or magic here. Action, Adventure, Mysteries, and Detective Stories though? Tons! And entirely worth discovering too.

It's tough being the middle child. Solveig knows this, but it doesn't make her life any easier. Neither a beauty like her older sister Asa nor . . . well . . . male like her younger brother Harald, Solveig has never attracted the attention of her father, the king. Now with their nation at war, the three children have been sent to a distant mountain fortress to wait out the days until the battle's end. As they wait they are joined by their father's guard, the highly unreliable and frightening berserkers. At first Solveig is put off by their manners and actions, but as time goes on she grows to trust them.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top 5 YA and one of the top for adults as well October 16, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Last year I wrote this about Matthew Kirby's novel The Clockwork Three:

Amid the several highly anticipated children's and YA works this year by big names such as Suzanne Collins and Rick Riordan, one can be forgiven for missing the entry onto the stage of Matthew Kirby's first novel, The Clockwork Three. Forgiven, but no longer excused, for among all those much more hyped releases (though they are often justifiably hyped), this stands out as among the best. There. Now you know. You should get it. '

One might imagine, therefore, that Kirby's second novel, entitled Icefall, would have a difficult time matching the quality of the first. Darned if he didn't just do it though. Before I'd even finished it, Icefall was already on my list of top ten YA novels for 2011 and by the time I was done, as I suspected might happen, it made its way to my top ten fantasy novels in general. And fair warning to all those books coming out in the last few months: it's going to be hard to knock Icefall out of either list. Now you know. You should get it.
According to its publisher, Icefall is a Middle Grade book, for ages 8-12. I can tell you my nine-year-old son loved it, devouring it in a single sitting. I'll just point out, however, that I did the same (age 49) as did my wife (age 46). In other words, don't let its targeted age group deter you from picking it up; Icefall is easily better than 95 percent of the non-YA fantasy novels I've read this year. Easily.
The time period is ancient Norway and the only setting is a small fortress where a Viking king has sent his three children (Harald the young prince; Asa, the beautiful older daughter; and Solveig, the plain-looking overlooked middle child) for safety before he heads off to battle a rival warlord.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic and Thrilling November 17, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Solveig is the second daughter of the king, neither heir to the throne like her younger brother nor beautiful like her older sister. She and her siblings have been sent away to a remote, frozen hideaway to remain safe while their father is at war. Then the king sends a group of his deadly berserker warriors to watch over them. But it will be a long winter, trapped in their fortress with limited food. And soon it's clear that there is a traitor among them.

Solveig is a brave girl, but humble and unaware of her true potential. It's soon apparent that she's a talented storyteller, so she begins to apprentice with her father's bard. This is when Kirby shows his talent, weaving Scandinavian folklore into applicable stories in a beautiful and poignant way.

This coming-of-age tale is dramatic and thrilling. Readers of all ages should enjoy this fascinating story of honor, betrayal, and mystery. By the end, I was completely enveloped in Solveig's story and was swept away. This impressive sophomore novel is a standalone Nordic tale with the feel of an endearing fairy tale. Icefall is easily one of my favorite novels this year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spend Some Time with This One January 24, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Icefall - Matthew J. Kirby

© 2011, Scholastic, New York

Last year I discovered a brilliant new writer--Matthew J. Kirby--by virtue of our school's "Book Fair." His first book--The Clockwork Three--was filled with signs of a master wordsmith. Buildings and forests came to life. There was magic in the words--from beginning to end. The result of that read was two-fold: I am in the process of reading The Clockwork Three in pieces to my children as part of their bed-time routine (it takes awhile because we're only good for about five pages at a time); and I couldn't resist getting his second book (which I also found at a school book fair).

Icefall mixes myth and legend with period adventure and coming of age. It is the story of Solveig told in her own words. She is the second daughter of a Norse chieftan/king, sent with her older sister and younger brother to a safe haven while her father wages war against a would-be suitor for her sister, Asa. The story begins slowly but builds as you read--you will need to allow three or for chapters to get into the story--and the window into the world of old Norse legend is priceless.

We encounter berserkers, the elite fighting force of the king. Men who have learned to call upon the beast within for power during battle have been sent to protect the small band made up of the king's children, their guards and the servants who attend them. The berserkers arrive with Alric the skald (story-teller) just as winter arrives at their fjord.

As you read you will hear tales of Odin and Thor and Fenric (the Wolf). You will get caught up in the intrigue, the battles, and the stories of treachery.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really great story! Very well written.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are looking for a wonderful book, this is it!
Wonderful, gripping story for those who love to find a great read without having to "skip over" something immoral. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Salt/pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read!
the end is totally different than what you would expect. I really loved this book. my favorite character was Alric.
Published 2 months ago by TippyWest
5.0 out of 5 stars nice book
Awesome book I love it
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool
Great book. You should definitely buy it. It is, however, a little short. Awesome book overall. I would recommend it to anyone.
Published 3 months ago by Hoops
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Norse mythology, but very slow moving...
I got this book to read because I loved Kirby’s Clockwork Three novel. This book was okay, it’s a bit slow. Read more
Published 3 months ago by K. Eckert
1.0 out of 5 stars As a fan of scifi and fantasy since the 60s I can't tell you how...
For several reasons I was shocked this was on a summer reading list for my rising 6th grader. It was difficult to read (and I am a fan of Charles Dickens). Read more
Published 4 months ago by teri horn
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books that I can remember reading
This is one of the best books that I can remember reading. It was easily two months ago and I still remember the characters as people and remember their growth both good and bad. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barb
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
An awesome fix for any Norse mythology interests, and a good intro to it. Also shows how to find your own place in the world when you don't fit in the norm.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Read
This book really caught me off guard. I was expecting a much more Young Adult feel to this novel, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dylan Taylor
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More About the Author

Matthew J. Kirby was born in Utah, but with a father in the Navy he moved frequently. He attended three different elementary schools, three different high schools, and lived in Rhode Island, Maryland, California, and Hawaii. As an undergraduate at Utah State University, he majored in history. He then went on to earn M.S and Ed.S degrees in school psychology. He currently lives in Utah.

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