Book Review : Snow Queen, Heart of Ice
The Snow Queen #1
By K. M. Shea
Rakel, a princess by birth, has spent most of her life exiled on a barren mountain, despised because of her powerful snow magic. Though she longs to be accepted, she hides in her ice-castle and lives with the fear that her brother—the King—will one day order her execution.
Her empty life changes forever when an army of magic users—led by the enigmatic Colonel Farrin Graydim—invade her home country and plan to enslave its citizens. Swallowing her fear, Rakel joins forces with her jailers and uses her magic to save the people who scorned her.
If Rakel cannot defend her homeland, the country will be lost.
THE SNOW QUEEN: HEART OF ICE is a story of magic, distrust, and unexpected friendships. It takes place in the same world as the TIMELESS FAIRY TALES series, but occurs centuries prior. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
When I first started reading Heart of Ice I was concerned that it would feel like a retelling of Disney’s Frozen because Rakel is isolated in a castle which she has built from ice like Elsa. Heart of Ice deviates sharply from Frozen because there is no sister trying to heal Rakel, no singing snowman guard, and no dancing rock trolls trying to help a romance along.
There are a few elements from Heart of Ice that parallel the original Andersen tale, but the details and storyline vary widely from the original. There is a mirror that has been broken into pieces and spread across the world, though at this point we don’t know the purpose of the mirror. The characters are also similar; the original has Kai and Gerda and Gerda’s grandmother with key roles. A robber girl is also present and reindeer. This one might be a stretch, but in the original there is a troll or the Devil, but in Heart of Ice there is an evil magic user who may fulfill the same role.
I thought it was odd that Rakel would gather the enemy and banish them from a city without killing them because then these same men would only strengthen their own military to attack again since they were part of the invading forces. She did this as part of her character being so merciful that she couldn’t bare killing others, which directly opposed others perceptions of her character.
The budding romance is a bit murky. Is Rakel going to fall for the misguided magic user, Colonel Farrin Graydim? Is she going to fall for the Captain? Or how about Oskar who has loyally been on duty for years at her castle? I actually like that it is not clear at this point in the story, because the plot is more about her personal development and rescuing her country.
As always Shea’s books are a clean fantasy with a bit of romance. Even a tween could read these books. In this particular one the robber girl loves to ogle the men, but it’s funny. At this point I’m finding more typos that bug me as I’m reading and would like to see more finished product. My two favorites continue to be Cinderella and the Colonel and Beauty and the Beast. I keep hoping to find another of their caliber.
3.25 out of 5 stars
If you enjoyed this fairy tale try Enchantment by Orson Scott Card or any of the fairy tales by Robin McKinley. Though not a fairy tale you may also enjoy Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede.