Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige #YA #Bookreview

stealingsnowTitle: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details:  October 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Retellings
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

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 …

Review

I read the original Snow Queen at the beginning of the year after getting it as a Christmas present. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s an odd little fairy-tale but totally compelling. I am also a huge fan of Frozen (which is very, very loosely based on Andersen’s tale) so I was really excited when I saw the premise of this book. 

Snow resides in a psychiatric hospital in New York. We’re not sure why she’s there but she seems to have accepted it. It’s all a bit of a mystery; she doesn’t seem ill enough to be in a secure hospital, although she does have one hell of a temper. Her best friend and part-time boyfriend Bale is also a permanent resident there. But he’s been kept away from Snow ever since he fractured her wrist the first time they kissed. 

But Snow knows he didn’t mean it, he’s just unwell. And she becomes convinced that he’s been kidnapped and taken into another world via a magic mirror.

OK, I know this all sounds a bit hokey but this was actually the most believable and exciting part of the story.

I loved the hospital setting. It was written well and full of intrigue. The characters – both the staff and the patients- were interesting and fleshed out, and the bond between Snow and Bale felt real. Paige seems to have taken a lot of care in building this world for it to be used in such a small part of the story. 

Snow manages to pass through the mirror to the other side – Algid. And this is where it all goes a bit wrong. I felt like Snow was just dumped there with no thought as to where the story should go. The world-building from here on out was almost non-existent, the characters she met were bland and one-dimensional, and quite frankly I had no idea what was going on.

All of a sudden, Snow is a princess who can summon ice and snow, and conjure these elements whenever she feels like it. There was no transition period at all. No fleshing out, no descriptions, it was all just a bit too fast and brief. WhamBamNoThankYouMam.

I felt really disappointed and let down by everyone involved in this book to be honest. Mainly because it had such great potential. It could have been this amazing Snow White / Snow Queen mash-up, but instead it was just painstakingly flat and messy.

I did like that Paige preserved some of the original story, and the idea that Snow’s icy kiss was slowly killing Bale but I couldn’t see past the rest I’m afraid. 

If it wasn’t for the great first couple of chapters and the idea in itself, I’m not sure I would have been able to finish the book, never mind give it two unicorns, but I think it’s a fair rating for the potential alone. 

P.S Three love interests, really!? Sigh. 

unicorn rating 2

 

 

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

quality
Title: The Quality of Silence
Author: Rosamund Lupton
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details: July 2nd 2015 by Little, Brown
Genre(s): Thriller
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free, advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review!

Goodreads // Pre-order/Purchase

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska. Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness. Where nothing grows. Where no one lives. Where tears freeze . And night will last for another 54 days.

They are looking for Ruby’s father. Travelling deeper into a silent land. They still cannot find him. And someone is watching them in the dark.

Review

The Quality of Silence is an assault on your senses. You can feel the snow, smell the petrol, and see harsh landscape of Alaska so vividly, it’ll have you grabbing for your fur-lined coat, such is the magic of Lupton’s writing.

Ruby idolises her father; he gets understands her in a way that her mum Yasmin doesn’t. But Ruby’s father, a wildlife photo-journo and film-maker has been involved in a terrible plane accident in the remote depths of Alaska and hasn’t come to meet them like he should have. Instead, they are greeted by the devastating news that he is dead. His wedding ring and his jacket, the only things remaining from the wreckage.

Yasmin, who loves her husband yet feels estranged from him, came to Alaska to try to make their marriage work one last time. After hearing the news she refuses to believe that he is dead. She will believe it only when she sees it, but the police refuse to help, and have stopped the search, adamant that no one could have survived.

And so Yasmin and Ruby, set off on the most dangerous road trip imaginable, to find Daddy, to find the husband, to keep hope alive.

This book BLEW ME AWAY. I know people say that all the time, but woah…it was just amazing.

I loved the setting, the characters – especially Ruby – who is AMAZING, and the slow, mysterious reveal of what happened to Ruby’s dad…it was all amazing.

The only thing stopping me from giving this 5/5 and claiming it to be the book of the year, is because it took me a while to adjust to the constant switching of perspective. Sometimes, this style can be a deal-breaker for me, but after an adjustment period, Lupton really managed to pull it off!

unicorn rating 4

You can pre-order The Quality of Silence from Waterstones now.

Winter is Here: The Polaris Whisper by Kenneth Gregory

18298164

It is a dark time. For decades Hakon the Black, the most feared Norse Lord of the ninth century, has conducted bloody and gruesome raids throughout Europe, and laid his claim upon the seas. But it is also a time of hope.

In the frozen wastelands of the north, Vidar searches for the Vestibule of Light. Alone, freezing and exhausted, he pushes on through the endless winter in the belief that once his quest is complete, he may return to the life he has left behind, and to Niclaus, the son he was forced to abandon. For Niclaus has a greater destiny – one foretold by Cado, the enigmatic Small Walker – and Vidar is but one player in the boy’s life. Cado has enlisted the help of protectors from all corners of the Earth to shield Niclaus: men whose worlds are connected by only the loosest of threads.

But as Niclaus becomes older, and the various worlds begin to converge, will Vidar and Cado have to make sacrifices beyond imagining to protect those they love.

I struggled with this book in the very beginning. I didn’t know it was going have a shifting timeline (one of my book turn-offs on this week’s TTT!) and it took me a lot to focus on it and figure out what it was actually going to be about. But how glad am I that I stuck it out? VERY, that’s how glad.

The Polaris Whisper spans from around 800 to 840 AD, so it’s not a huge shift between time per chapter, but it still took me a while to get used to it. It is also a book with many characters and story strands, but once they all started coming together I had to keep reading to find out how it was going to pan out.

There’s the two monks of Ceanannus Mór in 802 AD who start off as BFFs but a strain is put on their relationship when Tomás meets mysterious ‘Small Walker’ Cado and begins working with him on a secret project. And then around 830 there’s Vidar who gave up his son Niclaus to fulfill a quest to find the Cave of Light not knowing whether he will return. And in 840 AD Niclaus and his friends prepare for ‘The Trial’, an almighty 3 day race over perilous snow and frozen lakes in which the winner will be named as Ugter – the new village leader.

It doesn’t really sound all that exciting does it? But it is! With gory Ice Bear and Wolf attacks, the mounting unease between the small walkers and tall walkers, a cute little romance, viking raids and the imposing Norse Lord Hakon – once I got into The Polaris Whisper I was hooked.

The setting didn’t hurt either. Descriptions of the Fjords and the frozen wastelands were both harsh and beautiful and I found the writing throughout pretty much perfect.

I was particularly interested to know more about Vidar and his quest and couldn’t wait to get back to him every time it wasn’t his chapter. The Vestibule he was looking for was drenched in mystery and magic and I was urging him on to find it each time.

I also loved Cado, the Small Walker. He was definitely the glue in this story, eventually tying all of the characters together. He was also the main source of intrigue and excitement as we learn more about him and the secret magical powers he yields.

In the end, this book was a lot different to what I was expecting. I expected more of the Norse mythology in there for sure, but the direction it actually went in was welcome too.

And, I can’t talk about it because this is a spoiler-free zone but THE ENDING. There is a proper twist/revelation at the end which is amazing. I’m not sure how I didn’t see it coming, but I didn’t…I literally had my mouth open for quite some time, actually it still is a little bit. Not attractive. Please tell me there’s more???

I think this will be a favourite Winter Read of mine for some time. Wolves, Racing Sleighs, Reindeer…what’s not to like!?

Disclosure: I received a copy from the author/publisher for an HONEST review via NetGalley. Many thanks!
Details: Paperback, 457 pages, published September 25th 2013 by Blackstaff Press Ltd
Unicorn Rating: 4/5
Is it a keeper? YES! I will be buying a physical copy ASAP!
If you like this try: Game of Thrones!?