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As you all know by now, Kati and I recently attended the local SCBWI conference, and in addition to learning a whole lot about writing and illustrating, we also received many book recommendations. My TBR pile doubled by the time I left, but I knew which book I’d like to read first: “Icefall” by Matthew J. Kirby.

I’m so glad I found this book! The writing is unique and beautiful, and the main character, Solveig, is extremely likable. It’s set in the frozen north, and sprinkled with hints of Nordic mythology. Solveig’s father, a viking king, has gone to war, hiding Solveig and her brother and sister away in a fortress buried behind the ice so they’ll be safe. But there’s a traitor among them, and as her father’s warriors start to die, Solveig realizes the traitor must be someone she knows…and loves.

It’s a well-crafted mystery – I kind of guessed who the traitor must be, but I wasn’t sure, and there was definitely a twist I didn’t expect. Still, everything is set up well enough so when the answers are revealed, it makes perfect sense. I love when a mystery fits together so nicely!

Solveig herself is a great character, and a perfect example of a character arc. As the middle child, she’s not important like her younger brother, the crown prince her father is so proud of, and she’s not beautiful like her older sister, the daughter her father adores. She’s just Solveig, the quiet one, the forgotten one. Through this book, she learns she has a talent for storytelling, and it is this which eventually gives her the strength she needs to look beyond the expectations of her father and see her own inner value.

So if you’re looking for a well-written MG fantasy, I definitely recommend this one. It’s a slow build type of story, so don’t expect tons of action immediately, but honestly, I liked that, and I hope you will, too.

How about you? What’s the best mystery you’ve read lately?