Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Book One of the Stealing Snow series
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: 2 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.
Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. 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 the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew.
This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.
What I Liked:
Meh. Maybe this book was over-hyped for me, but it definitely did not deliver the epic fantasy retelling story that I was expecting. It fell flat for me, in more ways than one. It's weird because I personally haven't seen too much hype surrounding this book, but I have seen fellow reviewers talking about it, and I know it was a big title at BEA. But, meh! Maybe not for me.
Snow has been stuck in a mental hospital for years. Her dreams are nightmares and her scars up and down her arms are something to behold. But she doesn't think she's crazy. She hates popping pills to make her tired or dull or calm. One day, after a small episode of a sort, a new orderly appears, and tells Snow that she needs to leave and find the Tree. Bewildered, Snow gets a perfect opportunity to escape. Entering into a new world, with the help of the fake orderly (Jagger), Snow finds out that she is a princess, and the subject of an important prophecy that calls for her taking the throne of Algid, or aiding her evil father's power.
I didn't dislike or particular like Snow. At the mental hospital, she accepts pills and follows orders, despite the niggling feeling that she doesn't belong there. Outside of the mental hospital, she does not let herself get pushed around, and she questions everything. I didn't really connect with her, but I think I like her as a protagonist.
Part of Snow's motivation to find the Tree, after she escapes from the hospital, is to get her friend Bale back, who was taken into the Tree. Snow has no idea where to begin looking for Bale, But to find him, she must learn how to use her magical abilities. Think of these abilities as those of Elsa, from Frozen. This IS a retelling of The Snow Queen!
Snow is taken in by the River Witch, who explains Snow's heritage to her, and begins training her. Snow lives with Gerde, a protege of the Witch, and Kai, Gerde's brother. Gerde is happiness incarnate, always cheerful and upbeat. Kai doesn't seem to like Snow at all, and is very curt with her. Kai ends up being a love interest... one of several.
While I didn't particularly enjoy this story (see more below), it wasn't too boring and I had no trouble reading it, start to finish. I didn't really like it but I also didn't absolutely hate it. It will probably appeal to others, especially since it's a fairy tale retelling (those are very popular these days!).
What I Did Not Like:
Honestly, the writing was not great at all. I don't know how to describe some of the terrible writing phenomena that I read. It felt like scenes were occurring way too quickly. Like, we go from the asylum to the Tree to Algid waaaay too quickly. And then all of a sudden, Snow is training. And then she's kissing a boy and has feelings for him like two days after she meets him (that's Kai). And then she's taken away to another castle, which seemed so random. I guess it felt like there were a lot of random scenes jumbled together, and they didn't fit well.
I also feel like most of these characters have no common sense, Snow included. It's like she was doing EVERYTHING in her power to expose herself for the King to find her. She goes into a market, has her fortune told, and surprise, it lines up with the prophecy perfectly. But she exposed herself there. And then she's constantly trying to wield her power and she's terrible at that, and has the subtlety of an elephants (I love elephants though!). She doesn't think things through. She makes ridiculous deals with a Robber Queen, and then JOINS the Robbers... this occurred way too quickly (just like the rest of jumbled plot), and it made no sense to me. No common sense whatsoever!
Did I talk about the romance? Well, there are not one, not two, but THREE love interests, and all three of them are in the running and totally present in this book. Bale, the boy who was stolen and who Snow is trying to rescue. Jagger, the fake orderly who is really a Robber (yup, under the Robber Queen), but is loyal to Snow and falls for her. And then Kai, the surly boy who falls for her too. The ending of this book leaves all three boys with a fair shot so... no.
This love... shape is aggravating (I hate anything with more than one love interest) but I honestly just didn't care about the romance, so it didn't bother me as much as it normally would (like I really just do not care). I felt detached from this story, and from Snow, so I just don't care.
Well, that's part of it too. The sense of detachment I had from this story... meh. I probably won't continue with the series.
Would I Recommend It:
I honestly can't recommend this book. Yes, it's fantasy, it's a fairly tale retelling, it's like Frozen but somewhat darker. But we have a protagonist with little common sense. a weird romance structure happening, and terrible writing style. While this book should have appealed to me, on paper, very little of it actually did.
2.5 stars -> rounded down to 2 stars. I'm wondering if that's too harsh... but then I need to keep asking myself, did I actually like this book? Not really. In fact, I probably will forget all about it by next week. So, 2 stars it is. Sorry (not sorry)!
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