Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow - Ruth Lauren

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
Series: Prisoner of Ice and Snow #1
My rating: {★★★★☆}

Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
Expected publication: September 7th 2017 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Source: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc via NetGalley

Her parents were cast out from the royal court. Her sister was banished for theft of a national treasure. Now Valor has been sentenced to life at Demidova, a brutal prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be: her sister was sent there too, and Valor intends to break her out.

From the inside.

No one has escaped Demidova in over three hundred years though, and if Valor is to succeed, she will need all of her strength, courage and love.

If her plan fails, Valor faces a fate worse than any prison . . .

An unforgettably epic story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion.
This is a really lovely read. At 288 pages it's a short and quick with a focus on sisterhood, friendships and the ties of family. The only thing that really confuses me is why this one is billed as 'equal parts Prison Break and Frozen'. I can see the Prison Break aspect, obviously, but there's no Snow Queen or mystical magical powers in this one at all.

Valor and her twin sister, Sasha are thirteen years old and their parents are in service to the royal family; their mother the 'First Huntswoman' and their father the royal political adviser. When Sasha is imprisoned in Tyur'ma, a children's prison of ice and snow, Valor is determined to rescue her and from the very first chapter we are thrown into the fast paced action that doesn't let up throughout all of the twists and turns.

Valor is a daring and courageous heroine who puts it all on the line for her sister and I couldn't help but be drawn in and I found myself rooting for her from the start.

The friendships formed in this are great to see and the fact that there was no romance was actually a relief for me, especially considering the young ages of most of the characters and it was just really nice to see a focus on platonic relationships.

The writing was simple and easy to read and yet it wove a beautiful Russian inspired fantasy world that didn't shy away from politics and betrayals. I loved that you could clearly see that the world was so well thought out - from the history to the geography to the food and the clothes.

My favourite aspect of this book would have to be the matriarchal society and the bending of gender tropes - the country is ruled by a Queen and the next in line for the throne is her daughter rather than her eldest, a son. The twins' mother is the hunts-woman and their father the historian and adviser. There are women in every role - from the head of the prison, to doctors, to guards and it's a great representation to give to readers, especially younger readers.

A really lovely Middle Grade book full of adventure and intrigue, a captivating heroine who will stop at nothing to rescue her sister and friendships that may shape the future of a country. Totally entertaining and poised for a sequel.

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