Frostheart by Jamie Littler
Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241355220.
(Age: 9-13) Highly recommended. Ash is the hero of the story and he lives in an inhospitable village in a frozen land.
I was instantly grabbed by the exciting opening, where Ash and friends kick their ball onto the frozen sea. He foolhardily decides to step onto the solid surface to retrieve the ball, even though treading on the ice is forbidden. Underneath the surface lurks monsters, Leviathans, who hear and see him, break through the surface and to try to devour Ash. He only just escapes and is helped by his grumpy Yeti guardian.
Ash has never fitted into the Fira community and the fact that he can hear the monster's song and wants to sing back himself, fills the locals with fear and suspicion. This all comes to a head when rare visitors arrive at the village and it is Ash and his forbidden skills that save them from certain death.
He decides to leave on the visitors' ship Frostheart and the Yeti Tobu loyally follows him.
Ash is on a personal journey or quest to discover the mystery of his missing parents who were 'Pathfinders' and the meaning of his gift of 'singing', of being a 'Song Weaver'. Along the way he becomes part of many exciting adventures and interacts with an assortment of Frostheart crew members, closely befriending a Drifter girl named Lunah.
Black and white illustrations are distributed throughout the novel and they help to give a deeper understanding of the characters and settings. The monsters are wonderfully scary, threatening and fast.
This fantasy tale is a debut novel for Jamie Littler and other books will continue the tale. I feel this will be a popular series for 9 to 13 year olds and readers of Nevermoor and Harry Potter will find this a thrilling read.
I highly recommend this novel as part of your school/public library or personal collection.