Reviewed by Annis
"Winter is here to wall us up, to bury us in snow and keep us safe." Icefall is a coming-of-age story about a Norse princess trapped in an icy keep. No handsome prince will come to rescue Solveig. Not even her father, a powerful Viking warrior-king, can save her. To save herself and those she loves, Solveig must become the hero of her own story.
Solveig's father has sent his family away to a remote fjord for safety while he battles a dangerous enemy. Though she longs for her father's approval, she knows she is a disappointment: the middle child, the skinny, plain one, the quiet one. Her older sister Asa is beautiful, the image of their dead mother, "her skin like new cream, her hair golden". Her younger brother Harald is bright and bold, the treasured son and heir. She is "only Solveig".
But while months go by in the crowded hall, cut off from news of home by the frozen seas, dependable, thoughtful Solveig finds she is the strong one, the peacekeeper, helping to hold together the uneasy mix of family, trusted servants and edgy, restless warriors with her talent for story-telling.
Ice, wolves, and starvation are not the only dangers they face. A traitor is in their midst. Solveig knows this traitor must be one of the people she loves and trusts, but which one?
Icefall is not full-on action adventure, but a suspenseful and atmospheric thriller. Beautifully written, this wise and moving tale with its engaging heroine who uses the power of story to overcome her fears can be read at many different levels, and will captivate readers of all ages. (2011, 336 pages. Winner of a 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award and the 2012 PEN American Center Award for Children's Literature. Recommended for ages 9-14 and older.) More about Icefall at Powell's Books, Amazon.com or The Book Depository