Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: YA Fantasy; Christian Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
Overview: I’ve heard a lot about this book in the past few months. The cover is beautiful, and the concept of a girl cursed to die by her next tear is beyond intriguing. I went into it with high expectations. Those expectations were mostly met, although I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d hoped to be.
Characters: I loved Myrthe and Bastiaan! Myrthe’s story was hard to read, not because it wasn’t good, but because it was so tragic. She goes through so much, and her reactions to the events are realistic even while they’re heartbreaking. I enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the story. And her gift is really cool, too! Bastiaan was my favorite. I love his sense of humor, and his Talent of stopping time is pretty neat. He’s not your typical charmer; just an old soul with a unique perspective on the world who just wants to do right, even when he doesn’t always make the best decisions to reach that goal. His and Myrthe’s relationship is sweet.
Content: The book is quite clean romance-wise. There are a few undescribed kisses. There are a few declarations of love. In the past, a young girl was sold into prostitution, which resulted in a child. There is a bit of violence in the book. Nothing’s graphic, but several characters meet gruesome ends, and in a particularly grisly scene, a character chops off another’s finger. There’s no language. A few characters utter such phrases as “Winter’s breath” and “weather and woods.”
Writing: The writing is lovely in terms of plot and theme. Brandes has crafted a beautiful allegory of salvation in this fairytale, and her themes are brought out so well. It’s a lengthy book, but the pacing never drags. I wasn’t overly fond of the switching of narrative styles between the POV characters. Myrthe’s POV is in first person, while Bastiaan’s and another character’s are in third person. It was a bit jarring going back and forth between the two styles. I got used to it, but it would always take me a moment to readjust when it swapped.
Summary: This is a lovely fairytale based loosely on “The Snow Queen.” I appreciated the simplicity of the allegory; it’s not preachy at all, but it’s there for those who know to look for it. I didn’t always like the characters’ decisions, but their actions are always understandable, and the ending left me desperately hoping for a sequel. I recommend this to fantasy lovers aged 14+.
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