This book pinged up on Amazon because I had read books similar to it but I actually bought in in my first Waterstones haul of this year. It was on a table marked ‘ Buy One Buy One Half Price’, you can see now why I went a little crazy…
The synopsis for this book is as follows (I source all my synopsis’s from amazon):
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 an evil Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden or risk becoming her prisoners at Winterfang Palace.
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 to the Never Cliffs and beyond 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 . . .
Ability to read – I actually had some difficulty reading this book. It wasn’t an easy story to get into and despite the interesting synopsis, I sometimes found myself struggling to understand or unwilling to read on because I was uninterested. It became a book that I was half forcing myself to read. I so wanted to enjoy this book and I did to a certain degree. I had to pay more attention to what I was reading so that I didn’t trip up and I had to read at a slower pace so that I had had a chance to process what I was reading correctly. (I hate having to read slow because of my own processing issues, and I think that some of my personal hate got transferred to as my opinion of the book.)
Characterisation – Eska was an interesting character shrouded in mystery. I liked that she didn’t know her past and didn’t have an understanding of who she was. It was interesting to watch her learn who she could be, and see her becoming someone who was important and special. I thought the plot around her voice being special and being a tool that could win the war for good or evil was good. It added an extra layer to Eska watching her survive as her voice was leaving her.
Flint was the hope of the story for me. He represented all the cracks in the evil ice Queen’s plans and reminded the other characters that there was hope even in the darkest of times. Flint compelled Eska into action and became the voice that made her want to become a better version of herself.
Uniqueness – The plot in itself was pretty unique if you can look past the evil Queen part. The snowy setting and the difference between tribes was both compelling to read and something different. To have a story with virtually no adults in it was also different for me.
Problems – There’s the thing, I was both outraged and disappointed by this small point that I just could not get over. The fact that the war, the disappearance of all adults happened only a year ago grated heavily on my nerves. The plot was so well thought out and then that little niggling annoyance came along and ruined everything. To me, it made the actions of the children and their lives for the past year seem too dramatic and unrealistic.
I would have made more of an impact if the children of the tribes had been surviving in secrecy away from the adults for more than just a year. There could have been more development on the evil queen and Eska if the war had happened long ago and not just a year ago.
For me, it just took away some of the urgency and depth to the story. It made Eska’s escape and discovery of self seem less important. It really annoyed me.
Otherwise, it was a perfectly good book.