As we had an unexpected day off school due to the snow, I decided to re-read one of my favourite books from last year and review it for the library.
Welcome to a magical adventure, set in a snowy kingdom on the edge of the world…
Erkenwald lies beyond the reach of the trustiest maps and owes its existence to the Frost Horn, blown by the North Star, which spread its magic to enable the kingdom to be populated by the three tribes; The Feather Tribe, The Fur Tribe and The Tusk Tribe. These peoples lived in harmony until darkness was spread by the Ice Queen aided by her trusty shaman Slither. Now the fate of the kingdom rests with a twelve-year-old girl Eska; we first meet her, imprisoned in a music box in Winterfang, the Ice Queen’s palace where she refuses to release her voice to the evil queen.
Flint is a brave, inventive and impetuous member of the Fur Tribe who live in Deeproots, the biggest forest in the kingdom. Accompanied by his pet fox club Pebble, he arrives at Winterfang one night, determined to rescue his Ma, against the orders of his brother Tomkin, the leader of his tribe. As he scales the walls of the palace he comes face to face with Eska and at first tries to ignore her pleas for rescue as she cannot tell him “what tribe” she is from. However, persuaded by Pebble, Flint opens the music box prison and from this point becomes reluctantly entwined in Eska’s quest to prevent the Ice Queen from swallowing every voice in Erkenwald before the midnight sun rises!
They are accompanied on their mission by Balapan, a fierce, strong and protective golden eagle with a mystical connection to Eska, as well as Blu, Flint’s eight-year-old sister who is looked down on by some tribe members because she is different. One of the loveliest aspects of this book for me is the love and kindness that Flint shows to Blu and his gradual realisation that Eska is someone he should believe in due to her immediate acceptance of Blu.
There is a wonderful quote from Flint about halfway through the story,
“ I don’t think people stop evil by staying hidden. I think they stop it by standing out.”
which encapsulates this story for me. I am not going to discuss any more plot details for fear of spoiling it for you. However, I urge you to borrow this book and marvel as Abi Elphinstone wraps you in her magical writing. You may find that you want to buy your own copy as it’s a book you wish to read more than once!
This is an incredible piece of story telling, which is likely to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It is an immensely hopeful tale about the power of believing, the importance of trust, loyalty, acceptance of people’s differences and the courage to use your voice. Quite simply wonderful!