Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is. Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. 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 the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew. This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.
Solid start to a new series and a must-read for those who love fairy tale retellings.
Full Disclaimer: I adore Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die series. The worldbuilding is incredible and I am fascinated by an Oz in which Dorothy becomes the thing she once fought against. While Stealing Snow is not ALL THAT, it is quite a good read. Despite the allusion towards Snow White, the story does not re-tell so much as borrow a couple of elements (I was quite amused at how Snow named her pills after the dwarves). There are some beautifully, fantastical, elements that harken back to the whimsy of fairy tales and some terrifying creatures that will have any princess shaking in her snow boots. There were some great plot twists along the way and the assurance that, as the series continues, Snow (and the reader) cannot afford to trust ANYONE.
Unfortunately, while Snow's spunky sarcasm and stubbornness could make her a great heroine, she had an annoying habit of following along blindly without much information. She also seemed to be attracted to every single male character in the book. There were some really interesting side characters who didn't get a great deal of development, though they might prove more fundamental to the series as it continues. These characters show real potential and I hope Paige will utilize them more fully in the coming books. I also hope she will spend more time building upon the relationships between Snow and those she cares about. I would love to know more about her mother and Bane and what brought them to this point.
While Stealing Snow has some character issues, it is a solid start to a new series and a must-read for those who love fairy tale retellings.
Majorly disappointing and confusing
I was quite disappointed with Stealing Snow. Usually, I adore retellings, especially those with an interesting twist, but in this novel there was a clash of so many fairy-tale retellings, I couldn't wrap my head around anything. It was an amalgamation of The Snow Queen, Snow White, Frozen and Alice in Wonderland. The novel suffered from a lack of world-building. In fact, the author seemed to expect the reader to have a prior knowledge of fairy-tales so, therefore, doesn't bother to develop her world.
There was magic, thieves, witches and snow queens -- all fun and interesting book elements. However, all of these amazing aspects did not fuse together successfully which made for an awkward and disappointing read.
I did not like Snow. I found her a contradictory character. Stealing Snow could have gone down in YA history for featuring a mentally-ill princess, but the worst thing Snow ever did in the asylum was simply biting people. I don't like the implications this has for people who actually suffer from a mental illness. I feel like this makes light of their troubles by suggesting that someone who bites people and walked through a mirror is mentally ill. I'm all for diverse protagonists but it was executed so poorly here.
Unfortunately, the writing was below sub-par. Snow's commentary was ridiculously sarcastic and reminded me so much of Ten's inner monologue from "Firstlife." It was also very irritating when Snow continually recapped a scene that occurred a page earlier. The novel also focused on a lot novel cliches: a twin, good character was actually evil the whole time, the supposed evil character was actually being controlled, etc.
The romance was very confusing. Instead of a love triangle, we find Snow in a love square. Love triangles are terrible even when developed by a seasoned writer. But a love triangle mixed in with a confusing and poor-written story? Then adding in that extra love character? I am not usually this harsh in reviews but my patience reached its limits in Stealing Snow.
Unfortunately, Stealing Snow was a poorly constructed novel that could have had a lot of potential if the author didn't focus so much on mixing fairy-tales and instead developed her own original world and didn't rely so heavily on cliches.