Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
Icefall

Icefall

4.3 33
by Matthew J. Kirby
     
 

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Matthew J. Kirby, author of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, deftly weaves a brand-new tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave listeners breathless.

NARRATOR: TBA
FORMAT: 10 CDs, Unabridged

Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older

Overview


Matthew J. Kirby, author of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, deftly weaves a brand-new tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave listeners breathless.

NARRATOR: TBA
FORMAT: 10 CDs, Unabridged

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, and 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. Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he (or she) succeeds in destroying a king, his empire, and his children?

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 4�7—Stuck for the winter in a hidden fortress deep in the fjords, Solveig and her siblings spend long, humdrum days waiting for spring to come in Matthew Kirby's suspenseful tale (Scholastic, 2011). They worry about their father, a Viking king, who is away waging a war. He sent his three children—the beautiful and tragic Asa, the crown prince Harald, and plain Solveig—to a safe haven with some of his warriors to wait out the war. Soon the fort becomes a prison when a traitor is discovered among them. To help keep peace, the king's skald (bard) tells stories and legends of the mighty Vikings. He realizes that Solveig also has the gift of storytelling and mentors her throughout the long winter. Their tales, filled with Scandinavian folkore, help everyone deal with betrayal, treachery, sickness, and death. Jenna Lamia gives Solveig a steady, sure voice that is perfectly pitched against the bleakness of the environment and the grim outlook for the family's future. Her pacing is excellent, and Solveig's confusion and innocence is authentically portrayed. Listeners will be enthralled.—Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN
Publishers Weekly
Kirby follows The Clockwork Three with a tense mystery that blends history and Norse myth. Solveig—the plain and oft-ignored second daughter to a king away at war—has been sent to safety high in the fjords, along with her siblings, beautiful Asa and future heir Harald, and others loyal to her father. As winter closes in, food grows scarce, and tempers flare. When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that one among them is a traitor. Their only diversion comes from the stories told by Alric, the resident skald, who takes on Solveig as an apprentice. With her ability to spin tales and find the truth, can Solveig uncover the traitor? Kirby turns in a claustrophobic, thought-provoking coming-of-age adventure that shows a young woman growing into her own, while demonstrating the power of myth and legend. Kirby’s attention to detail and stark descriptions make this an effective mood piece. Readers may be drawn in by the promise of action, which Kirby certainly fulfills, but they’ll be left contemplating the power of the pen versus the sword—or rather the story versus the war hammer. Ages 8�12. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for THE CLOCKWORK THREE by Matthew J. Kirby

* "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

“Part mystery, part adventures, part science project, The Clockwork Three is as imaginative as it is fun. Kirby's attention to detail and descriptive powers are fantastic. . . .” - DESERET NEWS

School Library Journal, November 2011:

Solveig and her two siblings are sent to the far end of a fiord for safety’s sake while their father battles to save his kingdom. Solveig knows that the elite warriors who brought them there are entrusted to guard her younger brother, Harald, the crown prince. Older sister Asa, favored for her beauty and marriage potential, causes Solveig to agonize about her own insignificance and lack of purpose. Supplies dwindle while waiting for victory news, and anxiety increases as a warship full of the king’s berserkers arrives just as ice closes over the fiord. Stranded for the winter, the untamed warriors are restless and unpredictable, and begin to raise mayhem in the camp, killing Solveig’s pet goat and accusing one another of treason. Calmed only by listening to stories told by Alrec the skald (poet of the living past), the boorish Vikings become attentive to Solveig as well, bolstering her confidence and providing a means for the author to (ingeniously) integrate tales from Norse mythology, featuring gods Odin and Thor, supernatural creatures, and fallen warriors. In a page-turning climax, the fiord thaws and enemies arrive to overpower the berserkers and kidnap Harald. The ensuing battle and survival scenes are vividly portrayed, and characters fight back with the epic heroism of gods. Solveig is an empathetic heroine and Hake, the hulky berserker war chief, is also a well-developed and (eventually) endearing character. Fans of John Flanagan’s “Ranger’s Apprentice” series (Philomel) will enjoy this adventure tale.–Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

The king’s three children and a small group of warrior-protectors take refuge in a winter-bound steading on a northern fjord and discover there’s a traitor in their midst.

Beautiful Asa, the eldest princess, faces an arranged marriage, although she loves another. Harald, the youngest, will one day be king. But the narrator, middle daughter Solveig, is neither attractive nor particularly useful, until she begins to realize she has talent as a storyteller and could have a future as a skald, or court bard. As food runs low and bitter winter tightens its hold, someone in the group begins to sabotage the remaining supplies, and Solveig has a dream that foretells a tragic end to their efforts to survive. Interesting, well-developed characters abound, and Solveig’s strong narrative voice adds authenticity as she grows into her new role, not just telling stories of the mythical Scandinavian past but creating tales to alter the behavior of those around her. Valid clues and occasional red herrings heighten the sense of mystery. The chilly, claustrophobic, ancient setting is vividly created, and the sense of impending doom generates a gripping suspense overarching the developing—and deteriorating—relationships among the group, marking Kirby (The Clockwork Three, 2010) as a strong emerging novelist.

Recommend this one to teens who crave a good mystery set in an icily different time and place. (Alternative historical mystery. 11-18)

VOYA - Jennifer Miskec
Solveig is the King's daughter, but as middle child (and a girl, no less) she struggles to find her place in her father's kingdom. To make matters worse, Solveig's sister and brother, their attendants, and a chosen few others have fled the kingdom on the brink of war and now wait, protected behind a secluding wall of ice. Sitting ducks for the enemy army and with supplies running low, the group is anxious to be called home. Every day the fjord freezes a little more, squeezing out the possibility for rescue. In this fraught time, everyone must pitch in to survive, including the king's children. It is under these troubled conditions that Solveig discovers her own voice, her gift of storytelling, and her value to the community, not just as a helper, but as a story changer. Steampunk fans will enjoy the suspense and intrigue of this fantastic realm. The pace and tone is even; the characters and their reactions lovingly-drawn. The ideal audience for this book, however, will be the small (though loyal) genre fans. As interesting as it is, Solveig's story is probably not compelling enough to create crossover. Reviewer: Jennifer Miskec
School Library Journal
Gr 4�7—Solveig and her two siblings are sent to the far end of a fiord for safety's sake while their father battles to save his kingdom. Solveig knows that the elite warriors who brought them there are entrusted to guard her younger brother, Harald, the crown prince. Older sister Asa, favored for her beauty and marriage potential, causes Solveig to agonize about her own insignificance and lack of purpose. Supplies dwindle while waiting for victory news, and anxiety increases as a warship full of the king's berserkers arrives just as ice closes over the fiord. Stranded for the winter, the untamed warriors are restless and unpredictable, and begin to raise mayhem in the camp, killing Solveig's pet goat and accusing one another of treason. Calmed only by listening to stories told by Alrec the skald (poet of the living past), the boorish Vikings become attentive to Solveig as well, bolstering her confidence and providing a means for the author to (ingeniously) integrate tales from Norse mythology, featuring gods Odin and Thor, supernatural creatures, and fallen warriors. In a page-turning climax, the fiord thaws and enemies arrive to overpower the berserkers and kidnap Harald. The ensuing battle and survival scenes are vividly portrayed, and characters fight back with the epic heroism of gods. Solveig is an empathetic heroine and Hake, the hulky berserker war chief, is also a well-developed and (eventually) endearing character. Fans of John Flanagan's "Ranger's Apprentice" series (Philomel) will enjoy this adventure tale.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews

The king's three children and a small group of warrior-protectors take refuge in a winter-bound steading on a northern fjord and discover there's a traitor in their midst.

Beautiful Asa, the eldest princess, faces an arranged marriage, although she loves another. Harald, the youngest, will one day be king. But the narrator, middle daughter Solveig, is neither attractive nor particularly useful, until she begins to realize she has talent as a storyteller and could have a future as a skald, or court bard. As food runs low and bitter winter tightens its hold, someone in the group begins to sabotage the remaining supplies, and Solveig has a dream that foretells a tragic end to their efforts to survive. Interesting, well-developed characters abound, and Solveig's strong narrative voice adds authenticity as she grows into her new role, not just telling stories of the mythical Scandinavian past but creating tales to alter the behavior of those around her. Valid clues and occasional red herrings heighten the sense of mystery. The chilly, claustrophobic, ancient setting is vividly created, and the sense of impending doom generates a gripping suspense overarching the developing—and deteriorating—relationships among the group, marking Kirby (The Clockwork Three, 2010) as a strong emerging novelist.

Recommend this one to teens who crave a good mystery set in an icily different time and place. (Alternative historical mystery. 11-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545354097
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Edition description:
Audio Library Edition
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels, ICEFALL and THE CLOCKWORK THREE. He was born in Utah, and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. 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. Visit his website at www.matthewjkirby.com.

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