First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.
Mine broke Bale.
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.
Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.
Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.
This was a book I was really excited about since I have been enjoying reading the Dorothy Must Die series by this author. This seemed like something different and I really love retellings so how could I not be excited for it. I was expecting a Snow White retelling but it was more of a Snow Queen one, though I do like the Snow Queen tale.
I wasn’t a huge fan of how to book portrayed mental illness. It seemed like such a huge issue was glossed over and there wasn’t much depth to any of the characters and, while I know it was a fantasy book, the parts set at the asylum didn’t seem realistic. The fantasy aspect didn’t really have much world-building to it and both these points made it really hard to get into the book.
Another thing that made it hard for me to get into the book was the main character, Snow. She was pretty ‘meh’ the whole time. Nothing really stood out about her. Except maybe that she was very easily distracted every time a new, cute boy arrived on the scene.
There were a lot of plot twists that I found predictable, and it felt like the book was trying too hard to be a lot of things and ended up not being able to focus on the things that mattered, like character growth, character dynamics, world-building. A bit jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none where the jack wasn’t particularly good at any of his trades. If it had chosen to focus on just a few of the elements it included, I think it would have been a very different and more enjoyable read.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.