I received a copy from Netgalley.
I requested this title on a bit of a whim. I was less than impressed with the author’s debut novel Dorothy Must Die, which I read about 200 pages of and gave up.I really wanted to give the author another chance as sometimes while I've hated first novels, I've really enjoyed the second novel.
I had the same problems with Stealing Snow that I had with Dorothy Must Die. Certainly very creative, but I felt they were both very flashy but nothing had any substance. World building was all over the place, and the characters were flat.
Stealing Snow is “Snow Queen” retelling. I certainly credit it for it’s originality. It’s hard to think of a Snow Queen retelling without delving into a Frozen references, even though I didn’t like Stealing Snow, I was pleased to see the main character Snow’s ice magic was quite unique, and there was nothing resembling Frozen that I could pick out at all.
However, I just didn’t like this novel. It introduces the main character, Snow, who after trying to walk through a mirror as a child has spent almost her entire life in a mental hospital. She spends her days getting her education out of Encyclopaedias, a haze of drug cocktails, and watching a soap opera with her favourite staff nurse, getting into fights with one other difficult patient, a thief nicknamed Magpie, and swooning over a boy she calls Bale, a firebug who is her only friend but she is not allowed to see; for reasons of course.
At one point a strange boy, Jagger, shows up with a cryptic message Snow thinks is a dream, next think you know, she’s escaping and running into this new boy Jagger who leads her into a strange snow covered word called Algid. Somehow Bale has gotten loose – or something happens and Snow comes to learn Bale has escaped into Algid as well.
Snow meets a variety of characters who we don’t know if they’re good or bad. She learns of a the evil king has frozen the landscape and there is a prophecy of a girl who’s the most powerful thing ever – the king’s long lost daughter – she’s the most powerful thing in the whole world and this girl will off the king and set the world right again. Of course she thinks it’s ridiculous but everyone else is convinced Snow is the long lost princess. As the novel progresses Snow starts to realise she is incredibly powerful; (of course) but can’t control her magic. She meets a River Witch and her assistants Kai and Gerda who offer to train her and get her ready for the prophecy after she runs off from Jagger deciding to search for Bale on her own.
As things progress and we learn some characters aren’t what they seem and new ones and new plot lines are introduced, Snow’s desperate search for Bale, the possibility that feelings for Jagger might be developing from tentative trust to something more.
There were bits of it I liked, as new characters were introduced, particularly when Snow falls in with a group of female thieves thanks to reuniting with Jagger after ditching him. The girls are all different and uniquely pretty in their own way, but do use some overly flashy and dramatic magic, run by a Queen Margot. She has her own plans for Snow and her magic.
While there were some bits of I like, the biggest problem I had with this novel was I came to loathe Snow. The girl was a fucking idiot. Each new group of people she meet warn her quite bluntly that the king knows she’s now in Algid and training her magic. He’s sent his most deadly warriors and magic beasts after her, including the feared and dreadful Enforcer.
Talk of Snow and the prophecy is strictly forbidden. On several occasions Snow ignores this completely and heads out into public places –(show spoiler)
She does this several times. Ignores warnings and the possibility she will put others in danger to do whatever the hell she wants. The thief group she joins sets her off on an initiation task. She’s given very strict instructions. It doesn’t go according to plan and Snow lets off her magic again – creating danger for those around her.
By the end of the novel I wanted to punch Snow several times. She’s a selfish moron. All she wants is to get Bale and get back to her own world. Fair enough, that’s understandable. But let’s ignore all the people who have been depending on you to show up learn your gifts and help make their world right.
There were quite a few twists at the end of the novel that were quite surprising and unseen. Certainly original, I will say that, definitely something I never saw coming. Unfortunately, I was so sick of Snow and fed up with the novel in general by the end that the twists just made me roll my eyes. Not a series I will be continuing.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.