If you are in need of a Frozen fix, don’t let it go… pick up Danielle Paige’s newest book, Stealing Snow.
Stealing Snow follows seventeen-year-old Snow who has spent most of her life at a mental institution due to her uncontrollable anger. After several mysterious dreams and a strange encounter with another resident, Snow suspects that their may be more to her anger. When Bale, the love of her life and fellow Whittaker Institute resident, disappears, Snow escapes to Algid, her true home, to rescue him. Once in Algid, Snow must learn to control her newly discovered powers to fulfill the prophecy and take down her ruthless father.
In its description, Stealing Snow is described as a “Maleficent-esque twist on The Snow Queen, from the ‘villain’s’ point of view that’s equal parts love story and Frozen.” At first, I was afraid that this story would rely too heavily on the Frozen hype, but I appreciate that the author created a unique retelling of the story. That being said, I still have mixed feelings towards this book.
First, I’ll start with the cons. One of the largest issues I had with this book was the main character, Snow, who I didn’t care for until the very end of the book. Snow is extremely stubborn to the point where she refuses to acknowledge her powers even after she experiences them multiple times. Also, Snow’s emotions and choices never felt real or believable to me. She hated someone, but then loved them the next second. She knew the right decision, but always made the wrong one for seemingly no reason at all. Also, everything came back to Bale, even if she was on the brink of death.
I also had problems with several other characters in the novel, namely the love square. Yes, Snow doesn’t have just two, but three love interests. Since there are so many, and they all come across as a bit stereotypical, it was hard to root for any of them.
First, there’s Bale, aka “the guy with history.” However, there are so few flashbacks with Bale that you never get to know him and constantly wonder why Snow brings him up at least two times on every page. Also, in one of the few flashbacks we do see, Bale actually injures Snow. This event has different implication that what readers initially see, but I think it will definitely disturb readers how Snow romanticizes him.
Then, we have Kai, aka “the good guy.” Kai’s the type of guy that the protagonist initially hates, but then sees without his shirt off and realizes that he is actually pretty nice (even though he basically said they should have let Snow to die). I felt like the feelings between Kai and Snow pop out of nowhere, much like Kai himself. Kai appears at the beginning of the book briefly and pops up at the end, so you don’t really get to know him.
Then, there’s Jagger, “the bad boy with the heart of gold.” Jagger is a Robber, a group of girls (plus him) who steal magic and want to take down the king. I liked Jagger, but I still felt like there wasn’t enough depth with his character. I have a feeling his character will be more fleshed out later in the series, but even a glimpse would have added so much to his character. Also, (minor spoiler) Jagger uses magic to hijack Snow’s dreams, which I found kind of creepy (end spoiler). This isn’t surprising that Snow is attracted to him though considering the behavior of her other love interests.
Another problem I had with this book was the plot. The River Witch part moved so slow and even though it may impact the plot later in the series, it felt so out of place and irrelevant in this book. It’s main purpose seemed to relay background information, which could have been incorporated in a different way. I liked the Robbers section better, but this also felt out of place, like it belonged in another fairy tale. As a result, the final section of this book felt incredibly short and rushed, even though it was the most interesting and exciting.
Another aspect of Stealing Snow that could be improved was the world building. I had a difficult time picturing many of the people and places in this book. I also felt like some parts of the story relied too heavily on magic–one character just happened to have a power or potion that solved the problem easily. Also, the whole Enforcer subplot fell flat to me after I learned its true purpose, which seemed only to propel a member of the love square. Some parts of the book also relied on tropes. For example, Jagger refers to Snow and Bale as being imprinted on each other and even references Twilight after mentioning it. This caused the world building also to come across as unbelievable at times, for example, when a character who never ventured outside of Algid referenced The Bachelor.
Even though I had several issues with this books, there were several aspects that I enjoyed, most of which occurred in the last fifty pages. First, are the plot twists. Usually, I am good at predicting different plot twists in books, but some of the twists in this book took me by surprise. I also feel that several of the plot twists were very unique. Even though some of the plot twists felt like relaying information than discovering them, I still really liked them.
The battle at the end was also very well written. There was so much action, I couldn’t put the book down! I also really enjoyed seeing several of the characters grow, especially the Robbers. I also started feeling more invested in Snow and her story, which makes me want to continue the series. Even Bale became a stronger contender in the love square for me. I only wish that more of the tension and action in the last quarter of the book spanned throughout the entire book.
Since I really loved the ending of the book, but felt like many characters, the plot, and world building could be improved, I rate this book three out of four stars.