Prisoner of Ice and Snow, Ruth Lauren ARC Review

Prison break plots can make the most exciting books, I feel. So when the opportunity to read Prisoner of Ice and Snow arose I couldn’t resist. This is listed as a Middle Grade title (but I’m 22 and I loved it) and involves many feats of daring do and a lovely sisterly bond, who could ask for more?

Goodreads Summary:

In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already 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 in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most 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 unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

The way that Lauren creates this sinister and brutal frozen prison for children is just phenomenal. You read this book and you genuinely start to feel cold! Since much of this book is confined to the prison I think I’m alright to say that this book therefore has great world building. You get a feel for the dynamics of this entire world just through the prison which is no easy feat.

In a book such as this characters are very important since the book relies on them to drive the action. I found Valor a hugely likeable and believable character which isn’t something I often say about ‘strong female characters’ in middle grade fiction. I think, because her motivation is so clear from the beginning, it is easy to understand why she acts the way that she does. You have a clear understanding of her thought process so she feels more real.

The side characters in this book are also pretty interesting, though I would have liked to get to know them a little more, they are in a prison so must have some decent backstories. They are a decent mix of male and female, but I don’t recall them being noticeably diverse so that’s a bit of a downside (I may be misremembering).

A prison break plot is not particularly novel in YA fiction, but a prison break from within felt very different, though I’m sure there are examples of books that have this as their plot. It’s also the perfect place to sow seeds of insecurity, who can Valor trust? Who will betray her plans? It’s thrilling and unpredictable from moment to moment.

I definitely enjoyed this book, it was a nice and easy read for me, though it might be challenging for some younger readers, who knows. If you like the sound of this it’s probably a book you will enjoy.  This book is one of the many that publish at the start of September (the 7th in this case) so be sure to preorder if you don’t want to wait!

My rating: 4/5 stars

By the way, I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!


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