Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s UK (6th Oct 2016)
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Format/Source: Paperback (sent by Bloomsbury for review)
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 …
Seeing that I’ve never read anything written by Danielle Paige, author of the Dorothy Must Die series before this, I didn’t expect much from Stealing Snow. All I knew is that her latest book is the first in a new fantasy series and that it’s marketed as a darker and more matured Frozen. Intrigued, I decided to read Stealing Snow because I was craving for fantasy after reading Lauren Oliver’s Replica.
The book follows the story of Snow, who is admitted to a psychiatric hospital by her mother and spends her days cooped up in her room, with only her caretaker, Vern, as company. After a series of events, Snow finds herself in Algid, a world where she is the long-lost princess who managed to escape the evil claws of her father, the King shortly after she was born. What’s more bizarre is that she discovers that she has a magical ability which is to control snow and all things linked to the eternal winter world of Algid.
As a whole, I thought Stealing Snow had a very interesting plot and premise because of the whole “long-lost princess who is back to be the saviour of mankind” trope. I admit, it is a trope that we’ve all seen before and as a fan of YA fantasy, it’s common. However, what appealed to me when I was reading Stealing Snow was that it was a character-driven book, which hardly focused on the plot up until the climax.
I didn’t mind that Danielle Paige wanted to expand the story gradually, but the development of the plot was a bit scattered for me. One moment, Snow is training with the River Witch and next, she finds herself in the company of the Robbers. I just felt that the middle part of the book that featured quite a huge chunk of the story was hard to digest, what with the discovery of the mirrors and the balls and the Robbers’ missions.
I’m just going to blurt it out. I didn’t like Snow. She wasn’t a character that was likeable nor was she charismatic. I felt that she was a hot-headed brat with severe attitudinal problems. Like, unghhhhhhhhhhhh. However, I was drawn to Jagger. He was such a cheeky charmer and I really appreciate that he made jabs at Snow and teased her which compelled me to want more of him. God knows the book really needed a comic relief.
For a person who actually likes love triangles, I thought that the love triangle square in Stealing Snow was rather sketchy. Don’t get me wrong. I do like having a selection of male characters to fawn over, but for this book, three possible love interests are a bit too much. The romance in Stealing Snow didn’t work for me because each quarter of the book, you’ll find Snow falling for a guy. Besides that, the relationship between Snow and Bale, Snow and Jagger and Snow and Kai were underdeveloped and I would have preferred if Danielle Paige had made Kai’s relationship with Snow platonic instead.
The magical element in the book was a plus because who can ever say no to magic in fantasy? Not that I don’t like my ordinary, mundane life, but imagine having magical abilities? Imagine living life like Harry Potter! I digress. Back to the magical element in Stealing Snow, I liked Snow’s abilities as her magical ability to control snow and ice really fueled the action scenes in the book. What irked me was her sudden mastery of gift. I felt like it was abrupt and I didn’t fully understand her transition as at the beginning, she could hardly summon a snowflake and suddenly after a few “training sessions”, she could conjure a snowstorm.
I really hoped that I had enjoyed Stealing Snow more because the ending was such an unexpected twist. I expected some trippy shit to happen and it did but I was not expecting that to happen. If you’ve read Stealing Snow and you want to talk about it, I’m here for a discussion! The ending did manage to set things up well for the sequel because I can see that Snow is no longer the naïve princess that everyone thought she was. I might be interested in the sequel if it is darker and sexier.
This is definitely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” because try as I might, I really didn’t like Stealing Snow as much as I wanted to. The premise of the book was very imaginative and the book started off quite well, but halfway through the book, I struggled to find my way as I got lost in the plot. I think I would have enjoyed Stealing Snow if it were a middle-grade book.
I’d like to thank Bloomsbury Children’s UK for a copy for review.