Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave.
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate .
One of the reasons I love the TSG Bookclub Box is that you receive books that are sometimes outside of your usual reading zone, this was one such book. However one of my reading challenges is to broaden my horizons so as soon as I had the chance I started reading it.
Although, as I understand it, this is a modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, to begin with I was getting flashbacks to an earlier bookclub book, Alice by Christina Henry, as the setting at the beginning was very similar which the leading characters locked in an asylum/mental hospital for their own safety. By by Chapter 10 I began seeing similarities with the C S Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
There are a couple of aspects that I don’t like about the book, the first is the fact that Snow travelled to Algin to save the boy she loved, yet she ends up in a kind of love square with two other boys she meets on her travels. I suppose this could be explained by her only ‘real-life’ experience comes from a soap opera where the lead character is on lover #10. The second is the fact that despite a gut feeling of unease about certain situations, she just’s shrugs it off and naively goes along with things.
I didn’t find the main protagonist in the story, Snow, overly likeable and towards the end of the book I wasn’t all that bothered about what happened to her. On the other hand, I found myself cheering for Jagger and the Robber Girls but again, would like to have seen their characters develop more.
There were several twists in the story, some of which I anticipated, some I didn’t but that did mean parts of the story lost a little of the shock factor.
Overall I felt the book fell a bit flat, while there was great potential for the story to be amazing, the characters didn’t really development and the world building wasn’t sufficient for me to create a place I felt like I was part of. That said, I may be tempted to read the prequel novella, Queen Rising, to see the story of Margot and the Robbers unfold.
Thanks for reading, until next time.