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Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Synopsis: Thyra Winther's seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts -- to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's desire, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.
Crown of Ice is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.
Review: I had never heard of the original fairy tale, "The Snow Queen," before Jackson Pearce's Coldspell. I know there are probably hundreds of fairy tales I've never heard, but I was really surprised I didn't know this one. And now that I do, I find myself picking up every retelling of it that I can find. Crown of Ice is probably one of the best I've read, and I'm so glad I stumbled across it!
One of my favorite things about this book was how true it was to the original fairy tale. Characters' names are close to or the same as the original characters (e.g. Gerda, Kai vs. Kay, etc.) and there are details that only someone who has either read the fairy tale recently or knows it very well would pick up on. Kai, for example, is exceptionally smart and excels at math in the original story and in Crown of Ice, Thyra chooses him because of his mathematical skills. The shattered mirror also plays a huge role in both stories, which was interesting.
But where there are similarities, Vicki takes this classic fairy tale and makes it entirely her own. Thyra must complete the mirror before her 18th birthday or she faces an eternity of being a wraith. The wraiths are horrible and terrifying and sad and I am not surprised that Thyra does NOT want to become one. Voss is also incredibly scary and pretty much does whatever he wants. His creatures are pretty interesting though, and I enjoyed seeing them throughout the castle and the grounds.
This book is definitely very dark, but I think it's set apart from other darker YA fantasy novels in that there's a glimmer of hope underneath everything. Thyra hopes that she will complete the mirror in time, Kai has hope that everything in his life will turn out alright and he'll be able to go away for school, Gerda has hope that she will find Kai alive, and even Voss hopes to live as an immortal once the mirror is completed. Hope abounds, and it made even the darkest moments of this book not so bad. The story is well-paced as well, which definitely helped hold my attention.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There are just so many excellent things about it, and I think any fan of "The Snow Queen" would really enjoy Crown of Ice. Even if you aren't familiar with the fairy tale, this book is worth picking up for the fantastic world-building and gorgeous imagery. I would recommend it to fans of YA fantasy books and fairy tale retellings. It is a standalone, which is nice, but I would not be opposed to reading another book set in this world. 4/5!