My feelings on this book are somewhat mixed.
On the one hand, the good things I enjoyed about it was the writing was pretty good, the story telling was fairly captivating and it made quite a good page turner.
But a lot of things bothered me.
For starters, the setting. Unless I missed it, the reader is not given any sort of setting. We're told its a small settlement somewhere where there are deathly cold winters and the township is guarded by high walls and a locked gate at night and in the winter. They speak a mixture of French and English (which made me think maybe its somewhere in Canada), There is no world building. We're told nothing of how this settlement came to be, whether its a dystopia or a historical. There's use of medicines and very deep religious believes and the way its told it could be either but nothing is clarified.
This village believes they are the only ones out there, but people disappear every now and then in creepy 'Takings'. It did have a fairly good creepy chill factor to the story. There is a pretty good mystery side to it.
My other main issue was the main character. This settlement clearly believes every generation must suffer for the sins of the previous generation. Its clear right from the start something very bad was committed by our main character's grandmother and she still feels the stigma and eyes of the settlement Council and residents. She's also crippled, which doesn't help her situation. People look down on her.
She came across as quite whiny and selfish to me. She's forever focused on how her Stain and her grandmother's sin won't shape who she is. Yet she gets away with constant rule breaking and doing things that no normal person would do. All because she she wants to prove she is not defined by her Stain and her history. While that's a good thing, she wants to make her own mark on the village and "wash away the stain and sin" (something along those lines) the way she acts and whines in a pity me but don't kind of way got annoying fast. Its woe is me, I'm so hard done to and everyone is so mean to me, but I'm really going to fight it because I'm Stained and everyone is mean to me. Its the same thing over and over and over. It became really hard to route for her to rise above it.
She ventures outside the settlement a lot and makes some startling discoveries. There's a rather dull romance and a councilman who has his eye on her who's got his own secrets. The mystery of what's going on outside the settlement was pretty intriguing and quite page turning towards the end.
The ending was disappointing. There was a bit of action but then it was like...oh. That's it.
The concept was a good one, I would certainly read something by this author again, I liked the writing, but this particular book didn't really do much for me.
Crosses off a square for Holiday Bingo - Snow on Cover