*This review will contain spoilers!*
First things first, I need to say a huge thank you to Bloomsbury Children's for accepting my request to view this title on NetGalley, and to NetGalley for the service that they provide.
'First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters. Mine broke Bale.'Don't be deceived by how strong this first sentence is. It's the only good thing about the entire book.
In New York, Snow is a patient in a mental hospital where she's been confined for attempting to walk through a mirror when she was a little girl.
But there's another world out there, Algid, waiting for their princess to come home and save them. Their ruler, King Lazar, is an evil tyrant who uses his snow powers for evil, freezing whole villages in the blink of an eye every time he gets angry. Snow is his daughter, and the only person in the world who has powers capable of taking Lazar down and freeing the world from his icy hold.
I hated this book.
- There's a love square. Snow is in love with Bale, one of the fellow patients in the mental asylum. He gets kidnapped and taken to Algid, where she follows him because she's so in love. She's taken to Algid by a charming man called Jagger, who she's instantly attracted to. He abandons her when they arrive, and she meets a magic hating man called Kai, who she kisses - despite the fact that she loves Bale. She's then separated from Kai and reunited with Jagger, who she constantly thinks about kissing. Every man this girl encounters, she wants to make out with. You'd think having a prophecy dedicated to her and a murderous father would give her more important things to worry about.
- The writing is basic. I don't think I saw a sentence longer than a few words. There were no sentences with clauses. There was lots of stopping and starting. If this had been a novel aimed at younger readers it would have made sense. But it was quite annoying.
- There were also endless lists of questions. Obviously Snow wants answers about Algid, because she's got no idea about this magical realm that she apparently originates from, but she doesn't give anyone a chance to answer her questions. She just keeps going, barely drawing breath, paragraphs of questions one after the other after the other.
- Don't forget the constantly interrupted speech! I don't know how to... What should I... I mean... It's hard to explain... Describing it... I just can't find the words... Yeah, you get the drift. There's a big difference between speech interruptions that make the dialogue more realistic, and those that prove the author doesn't have a clue what she wants her characters to say.
- The world is hardly built. There's a River Witch, a Fire Witch and a Witch of the Woods, as well as a group of Robbers that use magical potions in small vials. If I hadn't read the two novellas - 'Before The Snow' and 'Queen Rising' - I would have had no idea what was going on, because in the bulk of the novel nothing was established. This is one case where it's vital you read the novellas if you want to read the book, because there's no history given in the entire novel. The descriptions are also very basic, with trees that change colours and snow everywhere... Definitely transports you to a different realm.
- Snow doesn't achieve anything in the first novel, which means the second book is going to go much the same. She's still separated from Bale, still has unresolved feelings for Jagger and Kai (who has gone missing with his shapeshifter sister, Gerde) so I can imagine that a lot of the book will be dedicated to tracking down those two characters. She's looking for three pieces of a magical mirror... And she manages to find - and lose - one of those pieces in this first book, so she's still going to be looking for those. It's painfully predictable.
- Talking of predictable, I knew what the big twist was going to be within the first 20%. Bale, the (alleged) love of Snow's life, is randomly taken to Algid, and she follows him. When in Algid, she learns of a mysterious masked man who acts as the Enforcer, the King's terrifyingly evil and murderous guard. As soon as he was mentioned I thought "hm. Bets on Bale being the Enforcer?" and I WAS RIGHT. It's so obvious, especially after the Enforcer throws himself into a tree to avoid attacking Snow... And she still doesn't put two and two together. Say it with me now: GROAN!
Save yourself and don't bother reading this book. I have literally nothing good to say about it. Worst book I've read this year.