Genre: Coming of age/mystery/historical
Reading Level: Intermediate
Agatha Award Nominee for Best Childrens Young Adult (2011), The Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children's Literature Medalist (2012), Edgar Award for Juvenile
Plot Summary: Solveig, the overlooked second daughter of the king, has been sent to an isolated fortress surrounded by icy mountains and an frozen sea. Though she was sent there for protection while her father is embroiled in battle, a hidden danger is inside the fortress walls and Solveig must use all her wits to unveil the traitors and protect her family.
Red Flags: Some mild violence, death
My Rating: B+
I liked this book, probably more so than The Clockwork Three. Solveig was a good, likable character and she had a good story. Even though she felt very average, it was never "O me, I am so plain so y do da boys like me?", which seems to happen so often. Likewise there was never a moment like "O, I really AM the bees knees!" Her realization of her own abilities and worth was very natural and relatable.
My favorite section was the middle, as things started to go wrong and everyone became trapped in the wintery ice. It was like a locked room mystery, where the tension builds and everyone knows that SOMEone is bad but no one knows who and no one can get away. Unfortunately, the resolution of "who" was rather anticlimactic for me and made the mystery a bit flat. Also I had trouble picturing a lot of the characters--sometimes this happens because I read too fast, I'm not sure if that's the case here--especially Hake and Per. Also I couldn't pronounce any of the names, haha.
Overall, I liked the writing (so many hyphenated words!*), and this is one of those rare cases where first person present tense didn't make me crazy. I liked Solveig and her story in particular, and the setting was different. I also think this is a book that would appeal to both boy and girl readers--no small feat!
But I must admit I laughed out loud every time I read "the Thing"...sorry, historical accuracy.
*I mention this in connection with the writing in general--not because I have a particular fondness for hyphenated words. I am, in fact, pretty neutral about them.