Matthew J. Kirby: Icefall author Matthew J. Kirby

Ebook kindle Icefall author Matthew J. Kirby –

And how I fear that day for I know that when I look into my betrayer s face I will see someone I thought I knew And I will still love themA Nordic king has gone to war To protect his three children while he is away he has sent them with a small household to a emote steading Later just before the fjord freezes over and shuts the steading in for the winter he sends einforcements a force of berserkers who exist uneasily alongside the others who dwell thereOur heroine is Solveig the middle child of the king Her beautiful older sister Asa will bring a great alliance when she marries Her younger brother Harald will be a warrior and become king one day Solveig plain and seemingly unremarkable feels overlooked by her father She is however a talented storyteller and the king 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 ole 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 eminiscences 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 ealistic motives for what they do and ealistic 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 hythm 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 eceived an ARC last year but was swamped and knew my co eviewer Bill see his eviewwas a Kirby fan and passed it along to him and then after eading his stellar eview selfishly wished I d held on to it Then ecently I checked it out from the library but kept not getting around to it until I got an overdue notice and decided to hurry up and ead it before I took it back I m so very very glad I did Don t make my mistake people don t put off eading this book Icefall is stunningly good More people need to ead 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 think of these kinds of books They are worth eading even though it s written for a younger audience I just don t know how authors can do itIn this book we have Solveig who is the second daughter of the 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 mids image error 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 book keeps showing thatThe writing is beautiful easy and fast to ead It never gets boringThe art of telling a story plays a big part in this bookEven though there isn t much action this book keeps you guessing who may the traitor beThe story has a steady pace that focuses in the fact that we don t know anyone as well as we thi 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 eally 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 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 happ. 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 estless warriors anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle But as winter stretches on and the unendin.

Ens 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 eader will appreciate this as much as a 10th grader would I am eading this book with my 9 12 year old book club and I hope they like it 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 eality the setting has very few Fantasy trappings and the story itself is of the uiet slow kind the kind 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 ead 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 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 the king his a ival warlord Gunnlaug Solveig Asa and Harald are sent to a emote fjord with a group of the king 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 oyal 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 to make 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 ich 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 knowAnd 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 ealize that every story I have ever heard is a part of me deeply ooted 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 elationships 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 threads 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 evelation came I felt it was believableFor all its uietness though when the story eaches 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 elationships between Solveig and her close family and friends as well as the budding elationship 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 G ice efuses 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.

Matthew J. Kirby ´ 3 eview

Reatest 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 know 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 ealm 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 easons 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 elationship 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 and it is definitely a notable ead 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 to end and cannot wait to ead from Matthew J Kirby Easily one of my notable eads of 2011 if not in my top 10 favorites of the year 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 books So I started this book with one eye closed just in case that was where it was goingNope againThis is a wonderful book that fully captures the hythms of life in a Norwegian hall in winter The class system the food stories it s all there The writing is flawless and the story unfolds with a steady pace neither ushing to give us MORE ACTION nor too slowly and causing boredom In short this is the sort of book about medieval Norway I wish I could have had when I was twelve Simply fabulous and I truly hope that there is either a seuel or that Kirby chooses to eturn to this setting He has wonderful eye for the details that make every day life fascinating and I would love to see him take on this time period again 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 e interested in Norse history and their way of life this is a great book to ead The many small mysteries keep the tension building through the book until it s almost unbearable I also ead Kirby s THE LOST KINGDOM and liked it I m definitely going to keep an eye out for his books 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 eally enjoyed it Longer eview coming eventually maybe Young 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 eally explores is. Cting 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 and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdo.

Matthew Kirby was born in Utah and grew up in Maryland California and Hawaii As an undergraduate he majored in history and then went on to pursue an MS in school psychology For ten months out of the year he works with students and during the rest of the year he writes He and his wife currently live in northern Utah