Icefall

Icefall

Audiobook CD - 2011
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Princess Solveig and her siblings are trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen fjord, along with her best friend and an army of restless soldiers, all awaiting news of the king's victory in battle, but as they wait for winter's end and the all-encompassing ice to break, acts of treachery make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst.
Publisher: [New York] : Scholastic Audiobooks ; Holland, Ohio : Repackaged by Midwest Tape, p2011.
ISBN: 9780545354004
0545354005
Branch Call Number: KIRBY
Characteristics: 8 sound discs (9 hr., 7 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

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JCLChrisK Oct 29, 2013

I was slow to warm up to Icefall, and even when I did finally get drawn into it I didn't end up liking it nearly as much as I wanted to. As much as I *should have* liked it, based on all of the other readers who have loved it and a description of its elements: A mythic-feeling, historical, Norse setting; First-person narration; A character-based story, focused primarily on the protagonist's growth and development; A thematic emphasis on the power of stories and storytellers; Tension and suspense about a mysterious betrayal. It has nearly everything the books I love most usually have, and I really wish I'd loved it instead of simply liked it fairly well.
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And, here's the thing, my complaints are not usual complaints for me but instead the opposite; generally, when I think a book could have been better it's because of too much emphasis on plot and action at the expense of character, setting, atmosphere, and theme, but I felt this book suffered from a lack of action and tension. I don't care for the overwrought, but I wanted things in Icefall to be more dramatic. To have more emotional charge. To be more vivid and atmospheric and active and affecting. It just didn't feel like this story was quite *enough,* and I wanted more.
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I'm inclined to think, based on what others have said, my experience with Icefall was due as much to distracted, detached reading on my part as to the quality of writing, so I must be honest about what I felt but also hope it doesn't scare away other potential readers. Give it a try and decide for yourself.
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One final note: The general consensus seems to be that this is a fantasy novel, but I'm not seeing that. Yes, the setting and events are those most familiar from the fantasy genre, but nothing magical, supernatural, or fantastical actually happens. I think it's more accurate to call this mythic historical fiction.

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