Monday, October 28, 2013

Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce

Kai and Ginny have grown up together, and they knew when they were were 11 they'd spend their lives together.  Ginny knows Kai loves her, so when Kai disappears with a strange girl named Mora, Ginny knows he hasn't just left her.  Ginny sets out to find Kai, discovering along the way a world of darkness and monsters she never knew existed.

This was a retelling of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.  Sort of.  I mean, that was the intention, and it did certainly have call-backs to the story.  But it was pretty different, which is true of the other books in Jackson Pearce's Fairy Tale Retellings series.  They're not retellings exactly, maybe "inspired by The Snow Queen" would be more accurate.

I haven't loved most of the Jackson Pearce I've read.  I read Sweetly and Purity.  Maybe I should read Sister Red.  I'd heard good things about that one.  Anyway, I enjoyed this more than the others, although I found it choppy and the world building was weak.  Although perhaps if I read all the books in the series I would understand the world better.  I recall now there were evil, girl-eating wolves in Sweetly.  The probably build on each other.

The core of both the original fairy tale and Cold Spell is there, which is that love can be incredibly powerful.  Cold Spell puts a twist on this by questioning whether love is enough.  I liked that Ginny, who doesn't really have an identity of her own at the beginning, she just sees herself as part of Kai, learns her own strength and starts to realize that while she loves Kai and never falters in her determination to find him, she doesn't need him to be her life the way she did before. 


The biggest difference between the original Snow Queen and Cold Spell was the Snow Queen herself.  In the original, Kai's eyes and heart are pierced by shards of a broken mirror that had been made by an imp which causes him to see everything good as ugly and distorted.  Then the Snow Queen shows up and takes him away.  In Cold Spell, the Snow Queen isn't actually a snow queen.  She was a girl once, and then she lived under the ocean, and then she was made into a Fenris, which is some kind of evil wolf-like creature that eats young women. 

This is where the story was weakest, I thought.  There's all these vague hints of a magical world, but we don't actually learn what it was or anything about it.  Mora was a girl at one point, this we know for sure.  She had a twin sister who was killed by the Fenris (who we really don't learn anything about) and this somehow made Mora a Fenris?  I think?  Except she didn't become a wolf creature right away, she first lived underwater with other underwater girls.  Or something like that.  And they slowly turned into Fenris.  Except Mora escapes (by being kissed by the boy she used to love and then her memories return) and used her knowledge of water to create snow and cold, which the Fenris hates.  And now she steals boys and makes them forget their pasts and makes them love her while creating cold to keep ahead of the Fenris. I didn't understand Mora's motivation at all, because it was never really explained.  I didn't understand the Fenris, or why they were there or their purpose.  I guess there's the assumption that you've read all the other books in the series so you understand what she's talking about.  Since I have not, I was totally confused. 

There were lots of little connections to the original story, like a prince and princess (in this case a wealthy man and woman) who take in Ginny and want her to stay with them.  Or "the little robber girl" who in this case was part of some kind of nomadic gypsy-like tribe. 

So if you like books inspired by fairy tales, this is a good one to check out, but read all the books in the series in order or you'll just be confused.

Cold Spell comes out November 5, 2013.

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