Title: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow, #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: October 6th 2016
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…
A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts On…
Snow has been an inmate at the Whittaker Institute ever since she was five years old and tried to walk through a mirror. There are scars all over her from that experience, and after being fed a cocktail of drugs in the asylum Snow is not well adjusted. The only friend Snow has is Bale; she loves him but ever since he broke her wrist after their first kiss he has been kept away from her, and she is alone. Until a strange and beautiful boy appears in her room one evening; calling her a princess and offering her an escape if she stops taking the drugs.
But Snow won’t leave without Bale, only when she sneaks into his room one night to free him he is pulled through a mirror and into a world beyond her grasp. Knowing that following the instructions the strange boy gave her are the only way for her to save Bale, Snow escapes from the Institute and heads for the tree he described. On the other side of the tree isn’t New York anymore, it’s Algid; a land trapped in eternal winter under the rule of a power hungry, evil King who is also Snow’s father.
When she was born a prophecy was foretold about Snow, when the aurora borealis fades from the sky Snow will either increase her father’s power or kill him and rule in his stead. Her mother escaped with her to New York when she was only a baby but now Snow has found her way back to Algid and the clock is ticking against her as every night the lights in the sky seem to get fainter and fainter.
Already scared and confused Snow quickly loses Jagger, the boy who brought her to Algid, when they are chased by snow wolves. She has no idea how to navigate this new world, no idea what she is capable of or how her powers work but she needs to learn quickly. She trains with the River Witch, Gerde, and Kai, and later the Robbers, in an attempt to control her powers. Snow is adamant that she wants no part of the prophecy or her father’s land. All she wants is Bale, but after seeing more of the people and their situations under her father’s rule she wonders if she can really leave them to their fate.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. I have an all abiding love for fairytales so as soon as I saw this book on Goodreads it had to go on my to-read list. I originally thought it would be a Snow White retelling, though I’m not sure why, and when I discovered it was actually inspired by the Snow Queen I was even more excited to get my hands on it. However Stealing Snow completely failed to live up to my expectations. Snow’s journey through Algid didn’t have any cohesion; the events that happened felt like they could have been from two books but there wasn’t enough development to make them properly fill one. Stealing Snow was slow to start and by the time it got to the end it felt like all the action had to be crammed into the handful of chapters left.
Snow is the main character and this book is told solely from her POV but I couldn’t connect with her character. Her emotions and resulting actions always seemed to go back and forth; she was set on going one way and then, without any real reason, changed her mind again. It made her actions hard to understand because by the time I got my head around one of her thoughts she’d thrown it out the window and gone in the other direction.
I felt like most of this book was about Snow trying to learn about her powers but, with very little learning, she seemed to master them. We saw very little of her development from a powerless girl locked in an asylum to a powerful princess who had dominion over the snow.
There is a love square in this book between Snow, Bale, Kai and Jagger, but it fell completely flat. There was very little development to Kai and Jagger so their relationship with Snow didn’t work. In fact that only part of this love square that had any kind of development, that made me believe in the feelings between the two characters, was Snow and Bale. Bale was absent for most of this book but we saw him through Snow’s eyes, and although his character was kind of skewed by her love for him it worked for his development.
Snow believes she loves Bale beyond all others but the feelings she had for both Jagger and Kai kind of made light of what she shared with Bale. I feel this book could have worked as a love triangle, but as a love square there just wasn’t enough development of the male characters for me to believe in it. In fact most of the secondary character didn’t have a lot of development, certainly not enough for me to connect with any of them in any way. Once they were out of Snow’s line of sight they were pretty much forgotten about.
We don’t spend much time in Whittaker’s Institute in New York but in Algid the world is a different place. It’s covered in snow and ice, and people live in fear of the King and the enforcer he sends to do his bidding. We don’t see much of the world itself but we are given a lot of back-story into the situation Snow finds herself in; the prophecy and her role in it, her mother’s escape and the witches that helped, the power that makes up the elite of Algid. I would have enjoyed seeing more of the world itself but the back-story behind it was well done. Everyone from the King, to the witches, to the Robbers have a story that is told.
I felt this story had a lot of potential but it failed to live up to it. I’ll still pick up the second book in this series, simply because the ending has left me hopeful for the next instalment. Hopefully the development of Snow will improve, and we’ll see more of the other characters and I’ll be able to connect to them.
What did you think of Stealing Snow? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.