Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.
Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.
Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.
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This is a retelling of The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen.
I absolutely loved the beginning of this novel. It opens up in a mental institution, where Snow dubs the medication she is taking, her dwarves. Each medication she is given has a certain effect, even with one she is slightly allergic to and makes her sneeze. It was a great twist to the tale.
The innocence of Snow in this novel isn’t as pure in this retelling. While most have Snow with a sweet disposition and sheer gullibility, Paige gives us a harder, more jaded Snow. She is innocent of the world but harbors inner demons. I think this gives readers a more believable character, or maybe, a more relateable character.
As with most fairy tales, romance takes center stage in this retelling. Snow doesn’t even know the world of her past exists, until her beloved Bale is pulled through a magical mirror and into another realm. The same night a stranger appears in her bedroom, telling her where Bale has gone. She follows this strangers instructions to a tree that has been haunting her dreams. She crosses through the portal and every step of the way, she tries to find people to help her reach Bale.
However, this does not stop her from making a connection with two other boys during her journey. Kai, who never acts like he wants anything to do with her, until he plants one on her in the heat of the moment, and Jagger, the orderly from her dreams.
This novel takes the love triangle trope and gives us even more. It is apparent that Snow is looking for human connection in any form but it causes others to view her need for connection as wanting more.
I had heard many good things about her other series Dorothy Must Die, and I am now super excited to pick that one up as well, but this was an impulse buy… Just look at that cover 🙂
“…this boy I had known for less than a heartbeat, was the boy of my dreams. Only my dreams were nightmares.” ― Danielle Paige,
“I don’t know who you are. You hide your real faces from one another. How is that living? I don’t want to hide my scars, I wish I didn’t have magic and I’d rather dance with my feet on the ground! I don’t want to live in a dream- I just want to live. Like a normal person. And I want to feel things for free.” ― Danielle Paige,