Monday, October 17, 2011


Last year I recommended Michael J. Kirby's debut novel, THE CLOCKWORK THREE, one of my first Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays. If you want to read that post, you can find it here. ICEFALL is even better. The story and characters aren't anything like those from his first novel, though. I've been trying to think of something to compare it to, and the closest I've been able to come up with is John Flanagan's RANGER'S APPRENTICE series.



Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king's children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father's watchful eye? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

Kirby writes with power, beauty, and simplicity. In other words, his prose is gorgeous without ever turning purple.  Researching for this, I found a blog post where Mr. Kirby mentions that he listened to "In the Hall of the Mountain King," by Edvard Grieg, the Norwegian composer, while writing ICEFALL. Listening to it made me smile.

Have you read either of Kirby's novels?

If you'd like to read about more Marvelous Middle Grades, the following people would love to oblige you: 

Shannon Whitney Messenger (our founding mother)



  1. This sounds so awesome that I promptly added it to my Goodreads list. Thanks so much!

  2. Wow, I love Grieg and especially "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Used to listen to the entire "Peer Gynt" suite on the stereo when I was a little kid. (Yeah, I'm a nerd!) "Anitra's Dance," from that same suite, is wonderful too.

    Haven't read Clockwork Three or Icefall yet, but I'll be sure to add to my TBR list. Thanks.

    You have a great Monday too!

  3. Perfect music to listen to as a writer trying to set the right mood.

    I sometimes write to music as well, carefully chosen to take me where I want to go creatively.

    Pretty neat.


  4. Among my son's favorites are the Ranger's Apprentice series, so anything that is remotely like that, he will love.

  5. I love that music. I remember my sisters and I singing it at the top of our lungs while in a cave in Rock City of "See Rock City" fame. Not sure that folks out west have heard of it, but it's a classic attraction in the Appalacian Mts.

    The book sounds great- I'll have to hunt it down. Thanks, Myrna!

  6. I LOVE the Ranger's Apprentice Series, and I've been wondering about this book. You just sold me!! :-)

  7. I really enjoyed "The Clockwork Three" so I need to check this one out too. Thanks for the suggestions!

  8. For some reason I wasn't drawn to this one, but now so many people have recommended it that I've added it to my GR to read list.


  9. You know I haven't read any, but I love your description, "his prose is gorgeous without ever turning purple" - that is art and I have to check it out.

  10. Thanks for highlighting this! I have not read any of his books and need to get that changed, starting with Clockwork Three then moving on to Icefall.