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 …
Disclaimer: We received this book as an advanced digital copy from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury). This review may contain some things you consider spoilers. You have been warned.
Why we chose it: We figured we’d give Danielle Paige another chance despite hating Dorothy Must Die.
Review: Stealing Snow was in one word, okay. We had no idea whether we’d like it or not, but for us it was definitely a big improvement on Danielle Paige’s part. There were some similarities to her work on Dorothy Must Die, but seeing as how we managed to read the entire book and not stop at page fifty we have to admit, we’re impressed. Despite being classed as a Young Adult novel the whole thing came across as more of a children’s book aimed at a ten year old. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not what we were expecting. There are multiple reasons as to why we think this book is more child fantasy than Young Adult fantasy and we’ll get to them in a moment. We thought it was important to mention this first.
To begin with, the character of Snow is mentally younger than the age she’s described to be. We’ll admit there were some instances that we felt a seventeen year old shine through, but for the majority Snow’s inner monologue seemed quite young….. It can’t be denied that this can be put down to the fact she’s spent most of her life in a mental hospital with extremely limited contact to the outside world. Her only real sources of information are the occasional episode of her caretaker’s favourite show and her mother. We’re not complaining about this, it’s just another thing we weren’t expecting going into a book which is essentially about a girl’s rise to becoming the Snow Queen.
The entire book which is shown to us through Snow’s eyes ultimately came across as overly dramatic. Everything and everyone had a big affect on her and we often felt that Snow formed instant connections with people the same way a trusting child would. She left Whittaker Institute with a boy she knew nothing about for a different boy who was also a resident of Whittaker Institute and this lead us onto the real problems we had with this book.
The romance that is written in Stealing Snow is really quite confusing. It’s not a love triangle which we always hate and it’s not an unfortunate case of insta-love with one boy who somehow manages to be our main character’s soulmate. Oh no, in Stealing Snow the romance is a rectangle. There are three love interests and honestly, it’s a bit ridiculous..
The first is Bale – her trusting friend from Whittaker who we briefly mentioned not long ago. In the institute he’s the only boy she’s ever had contact with…..we think. We can’t quite remember all the characters from the mental hospital. Snow believes she loves him and while we’d call in more of an infatuation, we didn’t mind it too much due to our previous comments on Snow’s mental age.
The second is Kai and the third is the mysterious orderly who’s handsome and makes Snow realise she needs to leave the institute. His name is Jagger and what we don’t like about the connections between them and Snow is how fast it all happened. She’d meet them and be falling for them immediately despite believing to love Bale. All of these boys felt underdeveloped and came across as stereotypical love interests. You’ve the best friend, the surly/brooding boy and the mischievous character who is really broken on the inside.
The book could have done without all of them.
The next problem is most definitely the magic aspect of it. Snow discovers her magic quite early on and mere pages after she had an impressive amount of control on it. She could create snowstorms and such. Her progression with her magic wasn’t believable and is a common pitfall with female characters in the fantasy world. Although saying that it could be a common pitfall with male characters too, but we’ve yet to read any books where such magical progression is done in such a way. We would have preferred if Danielle Paige had done what Sarah J. Maas did with Aelin from the Throne of Glass series.
Take the time to expand the character’s personality and more before delving into the magic side of them. Aelin didn’t learn to control her magic until book three in the series and it was believable because she struggled and fought with the immensity of it.
Our final problem and one of the biggest besides the romance and magic was the use of a prophecy…which is something we think can be classed under the writing style. In Stealing Snow there are not one, but two prophecies revolving around Snow. They were introduced to us far too quickly and provided the author with a way to throw large chunks of information at us without properly explaining it. We rarely see a prophecy written in a good way and never have we seen it done correctly in the first book. We think Danielle Paige should have waited to reveal it because it felt jarring and was an annoyance.
Snow basically fell into the saviour category. You could say the same for Harry Potter but of course you don’t learn about the prophecy til much later on in the series and Harry is not a prodigy with magic the way Snow came across.
Now despite these problems and some other little flaws we’re giving this book three stars because we kind of enjoyed it in a reluctant way. We’re definitely going to read the second book whenever it becomes available and we have a few reasons for wanting to do so despite the negative comments we’ve made.
Our first reason is that we’re curious as to how the story will progress even though the ending will obviously be Snow becoming the Snow Queen. There were some so so twists as well in Stealing Snow and we’d like to see the repercussions to them. Our second reason is that we really want to see if the writing of Danielle Paige matures in the coming books and if Snow starts to finally act her age in a more consistent manner. Our final reason is because there are some secondary characters who we haven’t mentioned who came across really well and we’re intrigued by them.
So to conclude, we’d recommend Stealing Snow to younger readers, but we’d be unlikely to recommend in to an older audience. Stealing Snow is a fantasy novel, yes, but not the quality of fantasy we’ve become accustomed to in the Young Adult genre.
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