Genre: Fantasy Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone
In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find. Because Erkenwald is ruled by a cruel Ice Queen and you must stay hidden or risk becoming another of her prisoners.
Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey together in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
This is the perfect book to read in the middle of a storm, because you can hear the rain and wind pummelling outside and think at least I’m inside and dry and not trekking across a snowy landscape. Maybe it’s one that you’d rather read in winter, but I found it worked so well in spring as the setting is spring in the arctic, the days before the sun never sets for the first time.
The acknowledgements of the book talk about all the research that went into the book, from living with Mongolian Eagle Hunters to dog sledding in the arctic, and it shows. There are so many little details – from hunting fish to using the natural world to survive – that build up the world. It feels so realistic and painstakingly put together, but without intruding. (I read the acknowledgements first, so I was looking out for the details).
A LOT happens in the 270-odd pages – fights with ghosts, chases down a mountain on skis, daring castle escapes. I kept turning the page and wondering how more plot was going to be crammed into the few pages remaining without feeling rushed, but Abi always managed it.
Among all this plot, there are some wonderful moments between the characters. Not only is it a tale of finding the courage to face your enemies, but also to follow your dreams and find your family. I loved that Blu got a starring role, a girl with an unspecified learning difficulty. But that never holds her back and she’s the one who keeps the others on track when they’re panicking.
Read my reviews of other books by Abi Elphinstone:
The Unmapped Chronicles:
- EVERDARK (#0)
- RUMBLESTAR (#1)
- JUNGLEDROP (#2)
- THE CRACKLEDAWN DRAGON (#3)
- THE DREAMSNATCHER (#1)
- THE SHADOW KEEPER (#2)
- THE NIGHT SPINNER (#3)