Summery from Goodreads:
From the swirling mists and icy depths beyond the edge of the world came the snow-walker Gudrun, to rule the Jarl's people with fear and sorcery. But a small band of outlaws are prepared to risk their lives to defeat Gudrun and restore the land to its rightful leader. This trilogy follows them in their quest, from the first terrifying journey to meet the mysterious snow-walker's son, to the final battle in the lands beyond the rainbow bridge. The Snow-walker's Son follows Jessa and Thorkil who, are sent to Thrasirshall in the empty wastelands to live with the mysterious Kari, Gudrun's son. Led to believe Kari is some kind of monster they are shocked to discover he is a snow-walker, just like Gudrun, except with the desire to do good rather than evil. Together they journey back to the Jarshold to defeat Gudrun. In The Empty Hand Gudrun seeks revenge on those who banished her and sends a terrifying, faceless creature to the Jarlshold, and in The Soul Thieves, Kari and his companions must travel to the land of the snow-walkers to claim back the precious souls Gudrun has stolen. Here, Kari and Gudrun, mother and son and ultimate opponents, must fight their final battle.
Another wonderful magical haunting, icy fantasy which derived from Norse legend from the workshop of Catherine Fisher (Catherine Fisher is the author of the Incarceron Trilogy which I love too). as an author, Catherine Fisher, should be far, far better known because she has a rare gift of being able to tell gripping stories in beautiful, shapely prose
The story has all the right elements of a good epic - good rebel-turned-King, mysterious monsters, magic, scheming chancellor, father-figure mentor/warrior, clever bard, spunky heroine, Plenty of quests and fell monsters and creepy woods and etc. It has the spirit of the Norwegian folklore - giants, werewolves, dragon boats and spells....
The setting - Jarlsholm , painted sparsely though strikingly developed. It has all the proper fantasy elements: evil Queen. Gudrun is the right villain- She is threatening, cold, mysterious, and totally ruthless). She can seizes peoples minds and controls them. Gudrun rules the land (and her husband) through fear. Her heart is so cold that it is very easy for her to exiled her own son and to spread malicious rumors about him. Her only weakness: her reflection. It is the reason there are no mirrors in the hold.
Here is 2 of Gudrun brightest sayings which ring so much wisdom-
"'Is the sorrow of power, and its delight.'"
"'They will never love you,' she said, 'never trust you. Power like ours is a terror to them.'"The story is written in the third person, but is primarily from the vantage point of Jessa. We are never told how old she is, but in the first book, it seems as though she is older than ten, but younger than twenty, maybe about 14 or 15 .She is a feisty heroine. Very independent, But also thoughtful and caring wise and mature for her age. when Jessa and her cousin Thorkil banished to icy Thrasirshall, by Gudrun, he had been afraid to be in the same place with Gudrun's son - Kari, who rumored to be a monster. But then, she finds that Kari is a lonely young boy who has the power to destroy his scheming sorceress mother, and has been sent away because of that.
Kari is awesome! He is shy but super powerful and kind (and so unlike his cold mother) - he has the power to save them all and the the power to match his mother. he stand at the main heart of the plot - the battle between Kari and his mother represent, the battle between love vs. hate, good vs. evil and courage vs. fear, and truth vs. lie.
Even though or spite of him being kept locked in a dungeon for all of his childhood, he still could be kind and watchful and looked in wonder around him. I loves how the ravens follow him everywhere and through their eyes he could watch and learn what happening in the out side world.
Other characters - Kari's caretaker, the kind Brocheal, Skapti, the mysterious poet/skald(troubadour), Hakon, the slave boy, and finally Wulfgar, the new chosen Jarl, after Gudrun disappearance.
Book 1- The Snow-walker's Son - Jessa and her cousin Thorkil banished by the evil witch Gudrun (the wife of the current Jarl and a sorceress) from an ice kingdom to the North), to Thrasirshall. The reason for this banishment was because their fathers where loyal to the rightful ex-jarl (king) of Jarlshold. Here they will be incarcerated with Gudrun's son Kari; about whom there are the most terrible tales. He is rumored to be half-man, half-beast and is a figure of dread. After an endless journey, Thorkil and Jessa arrive and, at last meet Kari. He is not as they feared but is a slight winsome young man. His only terror is that he, too, has the power. But he is determined to use the magic wisely
Book 2 - The Empty Hand. The evil Snow-Walker Queen is gone and a good king reigns. But a mysterious creature is carving a path of destruction towards the king's castle . The creature summoned and sent by Gudrun to cause destruction in the kingdom of Wulfgar. Kari Ragnarrson tells his friends of old that he knows why the creature is coming: he said that it had been sent by Gudrun as a test for him, a test of the powers which he has inherited from her. Ultimately, Kari must come to terms with the full strength of his powers in order to win his struggle and defeat the curse of Gudrun. It is a battle of the spirit which Kari knows he must win
Book 3 - The Soul Thieves. It is dramatic conclusion to the "Snow-Walker" trilogy - Gudrun places an enchantment of frost and dreams upon the people of the Jarlshold and steals the soul of the Jarl's young bride. To reclaim the girl, Jessa and her friends must now begin a perilous quest to the land of Snow-Walkers, a place not shown on any map. They must journey beyond the edge of the world, beyond the rift into darkness, where the final battle between Gudrun and her son must take place.