- Page Count: 384
- Release Date: September 20, 2016
- My Rating: 1.5 stars
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.
The writing wasn’t bad, but that’s the best thing this book has going for it. It was basically just the bare outline of a bland YA fantasy story without any true plot. A teen girl finds out she’s a lost princess with special magic powers and gets into a love square. The end.
Snow is in a mental hospital like Radley from Pretty Little Liars because she tried to pull one of her friends through a mirror to get to Wonderland. The high security mental hospital stuff is about as generic as it gets with the monotony of pills, array of odd characters, and typical scenes of her drawing stuff or dreaming weird things. This lasts until 20% when the guy she likes gets pulled through a portal by two random arms. Then some other random guy shows up in Snow’s room and tells her to meet him beyond the tree.
So then Snow escapes from the mental hospital, goes to the tree to meet the strange boy, and finds out some secret country of Algid is beyond the gateway. Aaaaand long explanation short, she’s the missing princess of this kingdom and there are two prophecies about her. She has like a month to fulfill her major destiny: she controls winter and is the heir to the throne/the only one who can take away her real father’s evil power. OR she could help him grow even more evil. Choices, choices…
Along the way, Snow runs into headless people frozen in place, beasts made out of snow, penguins, and a River Witch made of water. She’s mostly searching for her friend who was taken from the mental hospital, but the River Witch insists that she first learn to control her magic powers. Snow trains for a long time… she gets ice claws. Idk. More stuff with the prophecy gets thrown in there… this actually sounds way more entertaining right now than it really was.
There are a lot of random events and some stuff that could pass as worldbuilding, but it all felt like more of a bland checklist than an actual story. I never connected to anything or anyone and it was all so cliche. I thought this was a fairy tale retelling, but it’s really just the typical idea of a lost princess with special snowflake powers (ha, literally). Except there’s not much else added on top of that. The plot just snowballed along to nowhere (ok last snow joke I promise).
I didn’t dislike the shadow of a character we got for Snow, but I didn’t connect with her at all. And I wasn’t huge on how she swooned over every guy she met. Every single guy is handsome and she was torn between three boys I did not even care about. THREE.
I usually love stories about lost princesses with magic powers and I don’t mind love triangles if they’re done well… so I’m not holding those elements against the book. I just need something more in addition to that! I really wanted to like this, but decided it wasn’t worth it to try so incredibly hard to get into the story.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!