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 …
Oh my god, where do I begin.
This book takes the bad and makes it look medal worthy, takes the ridiculous and makes it look positively normal. It makes the character development in 50 Shades look (almost) brilliant.
Firstly, I feel I should mention that I actually DNFed this book on page 202, then went and looked up the spoilers from the rest of the book because I really really didn’t feel like wasting my life reading the rest of them (even with the entertainment of liveblogging my reading)
Okay, so we start off with Snow in an asylum. Which should really have alarm bells ringing at once because like… why? Apparently at the age of 6 she tried to walk through a mirror with her friend and both are covered in many many scars from it, and her friends family tried to sue hers for it?
Like… I’ve walked into plenty of glass doors in my life, and thanks to those weird fairground rides called maze of mirrors or whatever, have also walked into some of them. At speed. Yeah, it’s painful and annoying but walking into one doesn’t cause it to break, and even if it did shatter, theres no way the scars she’s talking about would happen (its right you know, turns out later on in the books the scars are actually a map of the world she comes from.)
She’s also… not ill enough to be in an asylum? Her worst trait is biting people. That’s it. But apparently that means that you can be dumped in one for over 10 years, without any therapy or lessons by the looks of it, being dosed up on medication they don’t explain to you.
At first, I kinda assumed it was set sometime in the past- since way back when, girls could be sent to them for normal things like reading. Or studying. Or thinking. But nope, her mother has a phone, they drive. Its modern. which is even more stupid because we still may not be perfect, but mental illness and stuff and treating and learning about it has come on in leaps and bounds in even the last 20 years.
It’s just like… The author had a massive opportunity here, to give her Main Character a real mental illness (rather than the non-existent one that isnt even believable) and still have all the cliche YOU’RE A LOST PRINCESS YOU HAVE MAGIC moments, but made it different and better by having her struggle through her illness at the same time?
Plus if she’s been on meds for 10 years and suddenly stops taking them withdrawal would happen. she wouldn’t just wake up and be like YAY I’M FREE it would be hard.
(random sidenote, also, if you one day turn up in a land that doesnt exist being told magic is real and your dad is an evil king, would you really be like oh, cool let’s go?)
(I could go on about this bit – which is only like the first 80 pages – but I’ve already written nearly 500 words on it and I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO SAY)
Next: We’ve all heard of Love Triangles. Now get ready for The Love Square. (Or rather, if you want a handy diagram, get a piece of paper, write Female Main in the centre with a circle round it, then write Male 1 in one corner with an arrow pointing to Female, then write Male 2 with an arrow towards her, then Male three with an arrow, then lots of side character males as well because basically, like every male character will probably end up loving her or her them in this book. As I said, I only made it half way.)
Why. Why. Why do authors do this. Espeically when Mainy spends the first 100 pages talking about how Male One is her One True Love and she even goes into this strange land to rescue him after he gets taken through a mirror (what). The first guy she meets is Mysterious and Handsome and the second one is Brooding and Grumpy and she ends up making out with both of them, wasting pages of her story (and minutes of my life) going over What If They Don’t Love Her Back or What Did That Kiss Mean.
Like I get it. Okay. I do- not everyone thinks that sex and making out and kissing is repulsive. I understand that. But she’s spent her whole entire memories worth of life in a corridor with only like 6 other teens, and only one other guy. Yet she falls in love with every guy she meets and cant chose between them, even though ALL OF THEM (and her) have the personality of a 2D drowned fish.
But… If you somehow ended up in a fantasy world, where your apparent best friend and Love Of Your Life had been kidnapped, would you really waste time flirting with other people rather than TRYING TO RESCUE HIM.
Added to that is the ‘friendships’ she gains? Like, the (very few) friends she makes (strangely she seems to hate almost very girl she comes across?) she just abandons without any other thought. She spends ten years in an asylum with a few other people and never gives them second thoughts, she gets to know a river witch who teaches her- and the two teenagers that stay with the witch. She seems to be friends with them then runs away and never cares again. I gave up reading just after she joins another ‘gang’ (all BEAUTIFUL FEMALES except Love Interest Number Three) but it really wouldn’t have surprised me if they abandoned them all without a care as well.
I mean, to be fair, none of the characters were memorable. I can’t even remember half their names and I put it down two days ago. So many Snow and her flatness just couldn’t help forgetting the flatness of everyone else? I’m not actually sure if all the characters were meant to be bad or if it was the authors lack of skill with 3D, realistic characters at this point. The more I think of it all, the more of a mess the book actually looks.
I could go on about the actual writing and the plot of the book forever as well, but it can all be summed up with just the word…disappointing. The writing in most places was stilted and almost painful, the descriptions non existent. Most speech was awkward and cringe-worthy to read and just… I expected far more from what I had heard about the authors other series.
Plotwise- I couldn’t actually tell if this was meant to be a retelling of Snow White or The Snow Queen. Major hint, guys, not the same story, despite both having the word Snow in the title. For the entire time Mainy was in the asylum, she refers to her meds asthe seven dwarfs which made me assume it was Snow White But then suddenly its a whole new tale? And then Alice in Wonderland type things kept appearing? It was just really confusing and annoying.
I like retellings. I like seeing what people can do to a story we all know, I like seeing which parts of the fairytale they think are the most important. But to do a retelling correctly, the fairytale has to be recognizable. You can’t just call a main character Snow and go of course its a Snow Queen retelling! Like, no. I didn’t get a single real hint at all. It was like she had muddled every fairytale up in her head and couldn’t decide which one to do.
So, all in all, a book that I question even giving one star to. If you want fairytale retellings with a twist and magic and lost princesses, please, please read The Lunar Chronicles instead of this. Hell, I don’t even know if I’m going to read Dorathy Must Die after reading this, and I own that already.
PS- Snow’s magic power is to control snow. Right. But the River Witch, who controls water, can’t control snow. Maybe my whole life has been a lie, but isn’t snow just really cold water?