Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
Solveig is the second daughter of the king, neither heir to the throne like her younger brother nor beautiful like her older sister. She and her siblings have been sent away to a remote, frozen hideaway to remain safe while their father is at war. Then the king sends a group of his deadly berserker warriors to watch over them. But it will be a long winter, trapped in their fortress with limited food. And soon it’s clear that there is a traitor among them.
Solveig is a brave girl, but humble and unaware of her true potential. It’s soon apparent that she’s a talented storyteller, so she begins to apprentice with her father’s bard. This is when Kirby shows his talent, weaving Scandinavian folklore into applicable stories in a beautiful and poignant way.
This coming-of-age tale is dramatic and thrilling. Readers of all ages should enjoy this fascinating story of honor, betrayal, and mystery. By the end, I was completely enveloped in Solveig’s story and was swept away. This impressive sophomore novel is a standalone Nordic tale with the feel of an endearing fairy tale. Icefall is easily one of my favorite novels this year.