Book: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Published By: Bloomsbury UK
Expected Publication: 6th October
I received this book for free via Netgalley, this in no way affected my opinion of the book.
First off, as always, I would like to thank Netgalley and Bloomsbury UK for allowing me to read this book. I was really excited about this book when I heard about it, so getting to read it early was amazing.
Essentially, this book is a retelling of the Snow Queen story (which I am vaguely familiar with through Once Upon A Time, though not familiar enough to be able to tell the similarities and differences between this retelling and the original story). The Snow Queen role in this is played by our protagonist, seventeen year old Snow, who has been locked up in a psychiatric institute called the Whittaker Institute from a young age, after an incident with a mirror, which she tried to drag a friend through at the age of 5. The book revolves around her escape from the Whittaker Institute and her discovery that she is actually from a distant, icy land known as Algid and is expected to fulfill a prophecy to save her homeland from the rule of the evil Snow King (who also happens to be her father).
I’m not entirely sure what I think about this book, honestly. I found myself quite confused at times by the story and I think it could have flowed so much better, it felt like the transitions between each part of the book were a bit jumbled and slightly confused, they could have been so much smoother especially when it got to the end where there was so much happening all at once and the chapters were so short, I was being bombarded with information and it was all slightly confusing really.
I think if the first part of the book hadn’t been so slow (despite the fact that the chapters were pretty short) that would have helped in the later half of the book. If Snow had got to Algid sooner rather than so much time being wasted in the mental hospital, then I think that might have sorted some of the problems from the rest of the book. Because the first half was so slow however, it felt like the second half was very rushed, Snow came into her snow powers very quickly without much training because she had to in order for Paige to end the book in the way she wanted, whereas if there had been less stuff in the mental hospital at the beginning then Snow could have come into her powers at are more natural speed, more time could have been spent focusing on her training and world building of Algid and the twists that were thrown in left, right and centre at the end of the book could have been spread out more naturally.
I didn’t feel like the world was built up very well really, I mean I got the general idea that the King had frozen Algid and Snow is supposed to defeat him or whatever, but aside from that, it didn’t seem like there was much world building at all. All the stuff with the Witches and the Robbers was kind of confusing and I felt like they both could have been built up so much better than they were. I felt like there were a lot of characters that could have been interesting, but they were glossed over and so everyone felt kind of flat.
I kind of liked Snow, I guess? She was quite feisty and sarcastic and I liked that but she was also incredibly naive and stupid at times and she made lots of stupid decisions that just made me want to scream at her. I liked her ice powers they were really cool, but like I said earlier, it was kind of unbelievable how fast she came into them. I wanted to like her more, but like most of the other characters in this book, she fell kind of flat to me.
I originally thought this was a Snow White retelling, because of the protagonist being called Snow and the whole thing with the pills Snow is given at Whittaker being named after the seven dwarves, but that was just me getting confused! I originally wrote that I liked this Snow better than the fairytale one, but that was when I assumed she was meant to be Snow White, not the Snow Queen!
Quite a lot of the characters had stupid names, Jagger, Bale, Fathom etc, but this didn’t bother me as much as it might once have done as I’m used to reading about characters with weird names since fantasy is my main genre!
I really liked the River Witch, I thought she was really interesting especially since I was never sure whether she could be trusted or not and I loved the idea of a witch made of water. I actually found the witches way more interesting than I found Snow, I would so read a whole origin story about the three witches!
The whole thing with the mirrors initially confused me, but by the end of the book, I think that was one of the few things that actually made sense to me! The prophecy especially was confusing, I don’t really understand what’s meant to happen aside from the fact that Snow is meant to fight the King.
The romance, oh god the romance. This is where I’m going to get really ranty. DEAR GOD WHAT WAS HAPPENING HERE? Snow has not one, not two, but three love interests. THREE! I mean two love interests is pretty standard nowadays, which is sad in itself, but this book, I couldn’t even tell what the love shape was. A quadrangle? A pentagon? I’m not even sure. The love interest who was supposed to be her great love, Bale, I didn’t really feel any chemistry between them (though that might be because Bale was a very flat character). Then you have Kai, who Snow doesn’t even really spend much time with and still seems to be torn between him and Bale. Then you have Jagger, who I felt Snow had the most chemistry with but then that may just be because he wasn’t as flat as Kai and Bale and she spent the most time with him. And then it seems like Gerde (Kai’s sort of sister, but they’re not biologically related) might have feelings for him which I think makes this a love pentagon. I don’t know, but I tire with all these YA authors and their weird love shapes. ONE LOVE INTEREST GUYS! STICK TO ONE! Is that too much to ask? Or better yet, no love interest, because not all teens experience romance! I hadn’t even been kissed at 17, let alone had several guys I was interested in (and who were interested in me). It would be cool if some YA authors acknowledged this and didn’t give every single one of their characters a love interest (much as I love shipping. Little self promo here, way back in February, I wrote a discussion post about my problems with romance in YA fiction, if you’re interested in reading more of my thoughts on that). It’s getting a bit ridiculous now that YA books not only have to have a love interest, but they seem to have to have multiple love interests and it’s not even relevant to the story. In my eyes, this story is about Snow coming into and accepting her powers and learning about her family, and whilst the whole Bale storyline might have been needed to get her into Algid in the first place, I don’t see the point of the two other love interests. AGHH, IT JUST MAKES ME MAD! But that’s it rant over (for now). The whole thing with her kiss making guys go weird also really irritated me.
There were quite a few errors that I could forgive because it was an uncorrected proof, but the writing in itself really wasn’t that great, it was very jumpy and confused and didn’t really flow very well at all.
There quite a few things that I found that were incredibly…..convenient through the book, Snow comes into her powers just when she needs to, her scars end up being quite helpful (I’m not sure if saying why would be a spoiler, so I won’t), she ends up right where she needs to in order to find the King’s mirror, it all just felt very convenient, everything seemed to happen so easily for Snow and I would have appreciated if some things (not all because Snow obviously does go through some difficulties in the book) hadn’t come quite so easily, especially her Snow Queen powers.
There was a Twilight reference in there, that made me go “WHOA, Twilight is old enough to be referenced” which doesn’t really have anything to do with the book and how I felt about it, I just found it quite funny.
I did appreciate that Snow was quite tough and capable of handling herself, but she still likes pretty dresses (much like Celaena in Throne of Glass, though I much prefer Celaena as a character to Snow) which I liked because it shows that you don’t have to be either or, in all my iffyness about Snow as a character, that was one thing about her (aside from her powers), which I actually genuinely liked.
The book did get more exciting at the end when it started to pick up the pace a bit, but by that time it was kind of too little, too late because there was so much ground to cover that it almost felt like a DVD on fast forward, everything was happening, all the twists were coming but the chapters were so short and everything was happening so fast that you felt like you were being bombarded with information and you couldn’t really understand anything. It was exciting but a bit much to take in all at once. I feel like Danielle Paige got her pacing totally wrong in this book.
Overall, this was a mediocre book, with flat characters and flat world building and pacing issues all over the place not to mention the very poorly done love square/pentagon/whatever freaking shape it was. I usually would not read a sequel to a book like this, but I have so many questions still after this book and I’m hoping a second book might relieve some of my confusion about certain things, so I will probably read the sequel, albeit reluctantly.
My rating: 2.5/5 (rounded up to three on Goodreads)
I don’t know what my next review will be (since I’m writing this months before it’s scheduled to be posted, go me!) but I guess you’ll find out soon enough!