Monday, August 8, 2016

Review - Winter's Child: A Retelling of "The Snow Queen"

Original Title: Winter's Child: A Retelling of "The Snow Queen"
Series: Once Upon a Time, #17
Author: Cameron Dokey
Published: September 3rd, 2009

Publisher: Simon Pulse

I had high expectations on this book, and though I liked it, I didn't love it.

On the one hand, the writing is beautiful, especially at the beginning. The way it describes de land of ice and snow where the Winter Child was born, and how she got her name, it's truly a fairy tale narration, and I loved it! Words there just painted such a beautiful picture, that it felt like there was truly magic in them. I loved the way it takes stories, and this one was my favourite line, look:

"Pick any time of the day or night and somewhere, everywhere, stories are being told. They overlap and flow across one another, then pull away again just as waves do upon a shore. It is this knack that stories have of rubbing up against one another that makes the world an interesting place, a place of greater possibility than it would be if we told our tales alone."

It truly captured what it means to write, and how it is impossible to tell all of the stories, because each one generates another, and from them, many others start and end, like with a river and its tributaries, all of them full of possibilities if we ask ourselves "what if?".

I loved the way the Winter Child is presented, with her appearance and her clothing, and the way she has to live to mend those hearts in which a sliver of her mother's ice mirror entered, healing them, and righting the wrong that will allow her to be herself again. Not the Winter Child, but simply the princess, the girl, someone without the titles that marked her entire life, who longed to be loved by herself, to find someone who could help her heal her own heart, and finally, have a name of her own and live a life without worrying about paying for her mother's negligence.

However, I felt this book had potential characters who could have added some action to the story, but at the end, they only appeared for one chapter, and then they were gone. Like Petra, the bandit girl, and the old lady in the forest. I think that the situations Grace lived with them could have been better developed, exploiting its potential. At least Petra taught her something useful, and she took a friend from their camp with her, the falcon. But with the old lady, she's gone as soon as she appears. Was her a witch? Only a harmless, lonely old woman? Or a magical creature from the forest disguised as a human being? We will never know. See what I mean?

And that ending, oh, my God. I mean, Kai and Deirdre's love is beautiful, the way Kai says he has truly loved her through her story, his entire life, and always believed she could heal and be herself again. I really wanted them to be happy together. But Grace! Her ending had me rolling my eyes. I know that in fairy tales, love grows fast, and is forever, but this was just too much. I mean, it was unexpected, yes, and I understood that Constantin truly gave his heart to Grace, because they spent a lot of time together. But he was a falcon, and she didn't know he was actually cursed; but yes, she accepted his proposal; I mean, she rejected Kai, a boy she knew her entire life, but accepted a stranger who spent most of his life as a bird! That doesn't make any sense for me (though I liked the fact that she could finally have a way to see what was beyond the horizon, after spending her whole life wanting to discover the world).

I did like the fact that Deirdre's heart healing didn't come from where I was expecting it. Kai's love changed her, but it wasn't his heart the one who matched hers, but Grace's, with her determination to find Kai without a path traced in front of her, who set off in the journey just as Deirdre did when she left her home to right her mother's wrong: without following a course, only putting one foot after the other, letting the road take her, instead the other way around. That was definitely a good twist.

Overall, it's a good book. I wasn't great, but it was ok, and it's worth the reading if you like fairy tales. I will read the rest of the retellings, that's for sure!


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