Goodreads: Prisoner of Ice and Snow
Series: Prisoner of Ice and Snow #1
Published: April 4, 2017
When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape…from the inside.
Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.
Set against the backdrop of an icy queendom, this thrilling fantasy is on the start to Valor’s quest to protect those she loves at all costs.
Prisoner of Ice and Snow brings readers to an icy world where one girl decides she will do anything for the sister she loves—even if that means betraying her queen and her own parents. Valor lives up to her name and exhibits extraordinary courage and determination throughout the novel, making her a protagonist worth rooting for.
Since this is middle grade, some of Valor’s exploits go a little more easily than I would have expected, particularly for a top-security prison that apparently no one has ever been able to escape alive. The characters, oddly, seem frequently to be left without supervision from the prison guards (with excuses like “Oh, well they’re too big to fit in the mines like us children”), and the characters converse A LOT to formulate escape plans, considering that the prison has a “no talking to anyone else ever” rule. That aside, however, Valor suffers just enough setbacks to keep the plot leaning towards the more realistic side.
A smattering of side characters round out the novel, as well as add a bit of mystery to the adventure. Valor, and readers, have to decide which of the other inmates are worth trusting. Valor also has some interesting run-ins with the royal family, leading her to believe that they have their own buried secrets, as well. Some of this is probably fairly easy for readers to figure out, but author Ruth Lauren does keep enough tricks up her sleeve to make sure no one can be 100% certain how everything will play out.
Though the book is being marketed as middle grade, it has a mature voice and would have excellent crossover appeal into the young adult market. Readers who liked the prison break aspect of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows may also enjoy Prisoner of Ice and Snow. It will also appeal to fans of fantasy and those looking for a story about the love between sisters.