Nothing like a little prison break to get the kids excited for reading.
I thought Prisoner Of Ice And Snow was an altogether rather adorable middle-grade novel, if a bit slow, and 12-year-old me would’ve been so into this. Because 12-year-old me was all about prisons and death and doing archery in the backyard with siblings as moving targets. HAHHAH JUST KIDDING FOR THAT LAST BIT. They were stationary targets. *
It basically has (a) a Russian fantasy-esque setting, (b) epic sisters fighting to save each other, and (c) PRISON BREAKS OF DOOM.
Also shout out to me who took a confused moment to realise this is not the same as Prisoner of Night and Fog. 10/10 recommend we figure out better prisons because these chaps keep getting out.
* JOKING. I still have all 5 siblings alive. I swear.
We don’t talk about the 6th…
- Since I’m a mainly YA blog…it’s worth noting this is a middle-grade novel.
Just so you go in with the right expectations. Admittedly MG is not my favourite to read. I GOT OLD, OK. Although I do still adore Lemony Snicket and Rick Riordan, but unless MG is hilarious…I get kind of bored.
- Um, so…this is not hilarious.
A carton of frozen faberge eggs would probably crack more jokes. <– CRACK??? GET IT??? Omg someone please show me out. I get that we have the high stakes of prisons and certain terminal doom, but some humour would’ve saved saved the bacon. (OK wow this whole section sounds like a breakfast menu, let’s move on.)
- I really loved the Russian-esque fantasy setting though!
I’m a complete sucker for anything that sings remotely of Russia, as is where my favourite Grisha books hail from. It reminded me of The Wolf Wilder except in that book they saved the wolves, whereas in Prisoner of Ice And Snow, they shot them because they tried to eat the prince. Odd why they kept wanting to save him. The prince seemed a bit of a dehydrated carrot to me, but let’s go with this. The setting was great and full of ice…and SNOW. BET you didn’t know that was coming. I definitely felt the chills and icy hollers.
- The characters also didn’t really excite me, but they were TOUGH LITTLE COOKIES!
Frozen cookies? They were really not doing well keeping warm is all I’m saying. I did admire them, especially how Valour put together a whole PLAN to get her sister out of jail. I am a little old and gnarly though, so perhaps it was just that hte book was too lowkey for me personally. But Valour’s personality was: Bravery and Honour™ which is about as dull as it sounds. And Sasha was Sweet And Pure™. She didn’t actually have a whole lot of active page time, so I’m guessing this from the way Valour referred to her. I just am generally excited about these types of personalities, and the trope of Pure and Perfect Child Is Locked Up For Evil She Didn’t Commit™. I would rather read about evil. Like Sauron’s childhood? Let’s get a book on that. Anyway. I do think they were admirable, brave, and valiant little frozen peas. And I rooted for them to get out and be clever!
- They also totally had this whole Anna/Elsa thing going on.
So basically this book IS Frozen. Literally and figuratively. Which was super awesome because JUDGE ME FOR BEING A CLICHE but I freaking love that movie. I often tell my family I’m going to just let it go and then blast myself a new castle on a hill and tell them never never to visit. Elsa needed some introvert time, OK. Stop visiting her.
- Unfortunately life in prison is kind of boring.
Who knew. I enjoyed Valour’s cleverness and the unfurling of her escape plans. But the scenes of her doing work detail in the kitchens was less than riveting. I think the book could’ve been a teeny tiny bit faster paced.
- But I am still ENDLESSLY PLEASED to see little 13-year-old heroines being epic with lock picks and valiant loves for their sisters.
Because frankly that’s what I wanted to be at 13 too. Except for the “go to the ends of the world to save your sister” part because I have 4 sisters and if one goes down, well, fine. There are others. I honestly do love books about cleverness, prison breaks, evil conspiracies, and a bit of frozen bread for dinner. This is how we need to raise the future generation! Locks cannot hold us! Ice cannot keep ups! Kill all the princes! Sisters will be saved and mysteries solved! And shout out to books for remembering you can have adventures without romance. Wow, MG, you’re doing great.
THANKS TO BLOOMSBURY FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! Prison of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren is published October 2017!
Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.
But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.
No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …
An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.