While the king goes to war, his three children and a few trusted caregivers/protectors take refuge in a hidden fortress. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that there is a traitor in their midst. Escape is not possible from their ice-locked location, and so they must endure the Nordic winter and hope that the King rescues them before it is too late.
I chose to read this book because it won the Edgar Allan Poe Award this year, and the exciting front cover image added to my anticipation. Perhaps because I expected so much, I was a bit disappointed.
While the characters were well-developed, I found the action slow and the story overly moralized. The author, Matthew Kirby, is a school psychologist. It felt to me like the points he wanted to make for his audience drove the story.
Nonetheless, others may disagree with my sentiment. On the positive side, there is no inappropriate content or swearing, although the Norse folklore can be quite dark at times with haunting from the undead.
Appropriate for middle school readers.
Awards/Lists: Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012; Children’s Books of the Year, 2012; Edgar Allan Poe Award, 2012.