Title: Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen
Author: Jacque Stevens
Publisher: sjacquebooks, 2017 (January 23)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retellings
**I received a copy of this book free from Ebooksforreview and the author in exchange for an honest review**
Ok, you all know I’m drawn to pretty covers, right? Like, if you’ve followed my blog for at least a couple weeks, you know this by now. This cover didn’t do it for me…but I took the plunge based on the blurb:
It looks like your run-of-the-mill romance schmaltzy book. Nope.
This book….let’s just say that Stealing Snow should have been replaced by this book! I could imagine that cover on this book. And then this book being picked up by the big pubs. Like, seriously, I’m finding all these jewels lately that are better than the big bestsellers…so what’s up with that??
Anyway. Let me tell you about this fabulous book I read (
that you better not judge cover-wise, even though I’m a hypocrite):
The book is set somewhere around the early 1900s from what I could gather…it never specifies but there are references. And it makes sense since the original Hans Christian Andersen story is from the 19th century. But I digress. As usual.
In the beginning, Katie falls through the ice. She was going to jump, but she slipped anyway. And when she wakes up, she is not dead, but in another world. We get backstory in between segments of the narrative, and we slowly find out what led Katie to jump…and what she is doing in this world to which she somehow traveled.
Katie works at her father’s hotel since it’s only the two of them. Katie’s mother, her father tells her, is off fighting pirates and freeing people from criminals. But when Katie finds out from gossip at the hotel that her mother is actually dead, her belief in all things good shatters. She begins to build a wall and she stops believing in anything resembling magic, especially her pet crow Avery who used to talk to her.
But crows don’t talk. Mothers don’t fight pirates. And fathers remarry and have new families.
(I feel a Frozen gif coming on…)
Told in a present to past perspective (via dreams, storytelling), we learn that Katie takes on more and more responsibility at the hotel, shutting herself off from her family. Shay, a young neighborhood boy, seems to be interested in her, but she keeps him at arms length as well, responding to the taunts of “Ms. Katherine, the spinster, the Ice Princess.” A self-fulfilling prophecy, Katie eventually pushes everyone away.
But in this other world, she finds out that four fairies rule the seasons, but Winter has become the most powerful. And Katie learns the Winter Queen has Shay. But why does she have him? And why does Katie even care?
As she makes it her personal quest to save Shay, Katie discovers that even walls we build inside ourselves must crumble…if we are ever to find out the truth behind them.
Yes. This story is very clean, it intermixes all sorts of lessons and other fairy tales, and it connects students to classic literature. The Snow Queen is a story we are mostly familiar with, and we have been searching for an adequate retelling for years. Some authors have done it and others have not (cough cough Stealing Snow cough cough). This could be used in a lesson plan as a contemporary retelling and be compared to the original. It could be used to showcase the coming-of-age theme, as well as highlight the escapism that Katie shares with the creatures from the other world. I think it would be better as a MG classroom piece, but I could see it effectively used if time allowed for a folk/fairy tale unit.
So I actually give Winter Falls…
Can definitely be used with some creativity!
Of course indie books aren’t ever on Lexile, so I won’t even try to look it up. I would say 13 and up, as the Goodreads blurb warns of “alcohol abuse, suicide, and other serious topics.” The site referenced, MyBookRatings, is not a site I’m familiar with, but they suggest 14 and up. I honestly think that’s overcautious. It is a clean romance and there are many other books dealing with far more serious issues in MG books. So I think 13 is a good age, and I would even give it to my 12 year old niece (if she liked retellings, but alas, she’s not like her cool aunt).
I found another favorite that gave me a major book hangover! This book is fresh and keeps you on your toes, as you are eager to learn what brought Katie to this world. The four fairies are so different but each are sympathetic characters, as is our Ice Princess, Katie. She is not a Mary Sue by any means, she is not a “chosen one” but a jaded girl who has felt alone all her life. Stevens writes with no errors and I honestly think if you slapped a pretty cover on this and put it out, people would love it. I haven’t felt as passionate since Heir of Illaria. And at least that had a pretty cover.
So I give Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen:
So…will you be picking this on up? Can you put the cover aside if I add a screamingly beautiful graphic here instead?
Here, this is better:
**Don’t forget to enter my GIVEWAWAY for two signed copies of Heir of Illaria, the first one to make me feel this way!**
Here’s the link: A Rafflecopter Giveaway
I’m also going to a book signing tonight, so details to come! ::squeals::