Review: Stealing Snow - Danielle Paige

30309128Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
My Rating : {★★☆☆☆}

Young Adult Fantasy
Fairy-tale Retelling

Expected publication: October 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
(first published September 20th 2016)

Source: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc via NetGalley

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 …

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige's irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

These reviews are from Bloomsbury's page for Stealing Snow.

I'm sorry, I wanted to love this one but the best I can rate this book is two grudging stars - It was Okay - but I feel like I am clearly in the minority here. I mean, these are some great reviews and I feel like I didn't even read the same book.

For me this was an obscurely written mash-up of a few different fairy tales. It was supposed to be a Snow Queen retelling and I'm sure it will appeal to some readers but for me I struggled to make sense of what was happening.

I read a review today by Greg over at Greg's Book Haven and he mentions not being able to suspend his disbelief - and this happened to me here. To really read and enjoy a Fantasy novel you have to be able to put aside your knowledge and your doubts and be completely willing to believe in this world that the author builds around you and unfortunately Danielle Paige just didn't achieve that for me.

The writing felt abrupt, underdeveloped and quite frankly, juvenile. The characters were all one dimensional cookie cut outs of generic 'things' - crazy people; YA antagonists/protagonists; even the betrayal felt like an overused trope and I really struggled to find anything to connect to.

Our main character is sixteen year old Snow and she was supposedly committed to a mental institution for walking through a mirror as a child. I don't think that's a very viable reason to justify a diagnosis of mental illness. She bites people now, and that's probably sufficient to keep her in treatment, right?

This was just my first problem at the beginning of a long list of problems.

Snow is just the specialist little 'Snow'flake ever to walk the face of the Earth, or Algid. Whatever. She was trained for what, two sessions(?) with the River Witch and suddenly she had enough of a handle on her snow powers to be able to become the most powerful, most awesome most bad-ass snow princess EVER. And not only does she have the bestest powers out there, she has not one, not two but three love interests. It's like she kisses every boy she meets??? And of course every boy she meets wants to kiss her - because she's awesome and we have the constant reminders in her inner dialogue of her bad-assery.

I also knew that if he didn’t leave, I would tear the whole room, maybe the whole castle, apart.

But don't worry, it's not only her own magical amazingness she manages to try hammer into the reader - there's plenty of repetition of many things - just in case you forgot what you just read on the page before.

And then there was the world building - I couldn't understand the world building, such as it was. The MC had a map of the world scarred(?) onto her arm, and yet I failed to get a picture in my mind's eye of what this place felt like and looked like and where we were.

There's the mental institute, the icy snowscapes of Algid, Snow Beasts (there are Snow Lions, Tigers, and Bears - Oh my!) the Robbers with their robber Queen and their magically cloaked castles, balls and Duchesses and magical mirrors and prophecies and of course, the Big Bad - the evil Snow King who has placed all of Algid under an eternal winter. There's just so much going on and it's all squished into this one book and I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't.

There's some plot twists, but unfortunately by this stage of the story I didn't care anymore.

I'm not even sure if I can recommend this book to anyone. Perhaps some die-hard fairy tale retelling lovers? If you look at the reviews I first mentioned maybe I just missed the entire point of this book. Who knows? If you do pick this one up I hope you enjoy it a whole lot more than I did.


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