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StorySnoops Children's Book Reviews | Icefall | Matthew J. Kirby
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by Matthew J. Kirby
LEXILE READING LEVEL: 670L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
NO. PAGES: 336
GENRE{S}: Fantasy
Edgar Award
ISBN: 0545274249
READ & REVIEWED BY: Jen - StorySnoop

The Story
Icefall—Book Review

Before the king set out to battle a new enemy, he sent his children to the safety of a homestead tucked away between an impenetrable wall of mountains and a frozen bay. In the company of their father's most trusted warriors, Solveig, her sister Asa, and their brother Harald pass the long winter months hoping for their father to emerge victorious. As the days go slowly by, Solveig, who doubts her worth compared to that of her beautiful sister and heir apparent brother, begins to learn the value of her own qualities. But after many of the warriors become deathly ill, it seems that there is a traitor in their midst, trying to weaken those sent to protect the royal siblings. Soon the accusations fly and Solveig doesn't know who she can trust. Will her father defeat his enemy before the traitor can accomplish his goal?
The Scoop
Icefall—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Icefall is a compelling story that slowly builds in suspense while weaving in elements of norse mythology. Main character Solveig transforms from a girl plagued by self-doubt into a courageous leader confident in her own unique value. Solveig's insecurities stem from the fact that she is the second daughter in a royal family and generally overlooked by her father. When she meets her father's skald--or storyteller--she is drawn to his trade. He in turn sees tremendous potential in Solveig and becomes her mentor, pushing her to get to know herself and disregard other people's perceptions. By the end of the book, Solveig has become an accomplished and insightful storyteller in addition to being a natural and courageous leader. The story also offers a valuable theme about the endurance of courage and strength--traits embodied by Solveig--versus the fleeting nature of beauty. By the end of the book, Solveig has earned the respect of her father who realizes that he was mistaken to have underestimated her in the past. Sensitive animal lovers should be aware that Solveig's beloved pet goat is mistakenly butchered for food, but she is given another pet to love. There is a bit of mild violence and many of the warriors are poisoned and die. Icefall is a well-crafted tale of self-acceptance that would make excellent material for a book report or classroom read-aloud.
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