Intrigue…mystery…and ice! Everything you’ve ever wanted in a book, except a hand that reaches out of the pages to give you a chocolate every half hour. That’s what Icefall by Matthew Kirby has to offer (and I suggest you get your hands on it and read it if you haven’t already).
Over the weekend, I attended a SCBWI Conference (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and Matthew Kirby was one of the presenters. I used to attend these conferences in Vegas years ago and there were so many attendees that I never got to speak to an author. So I was tickled pink (or lilac or white like ice) to actually be sitting at a table with Matthew Kirby at the beginning of this conference.
I asked him questions about the research that went into his book and I’m sure he wished I would shut up and let him eat his pastry, but he smiled and was kind, even if I came across as lame (which is my forte in social settings. Yea me!).
Kirby’s story is set in Viking times. Solveig is the main character. She is the king’s 2nd daughter who doesn’t feel she has a place in the world. Her younger brother is the heir and loved by all; her older sister is beautiful and loved by all. But she is just plain Solveig—who no one notices. Wah!
Kirby did a great job making his characters come to life in a short span of time. As the small group of warriors, cook, storyteller, and the king’s children are whisked away to a glacial hideout as the king wages war back home, it becomes clear that there is a traitor in their midst. But who can it be? (Input your own dramatic theme music here).
I loved the mysterious plot. I loved the simple, but profound language. I loved the Nordic legends weaved by the storyteller and Solveig to bring hope to their companions in the face of disaster.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…And the shouting rises to a roar, accusations filling the air like arrows. It is finally too much. We have fractured under the strain and are undone. It wasn’t the hunger that broke us. It wasn’t the meat from my Hilda [the goat], nor the death that ravaged us. Suspicion is a different kind of poison. A potent toxin of whispers and air. We’re all infected, and it will be our end.” P 198
Icefall shows how stories inspire us…mold us…shape us. They become truth when we believe them, and it is the storyteller’s special magic that makes this happen. As I read Icefall, it made me happy to be a writer. Even if I never make the bestseller list with my own stories, I still believe in stories of all kinds (and eat them up–they are less fattening than chocolate).
To all who tell stories (that’s everyone—even if you don’t write them down—see Bent Wrists Lesson 11), keep on believing and weaving your tales. Stories are powerful! Write on!
- Book Report: Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby (saytaina.com)