Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
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.
"Mirrors reflect what we want to see, or sometimes they reveal what you really are or what you really want. You have to be very careful with a mirror."
Seventeen-year-old Snow Yardley has spent most of her life locked up in an insane asylum. Life within the locked halls is all she knows after she tried to walk through a mirror and tried to take another girl with her. Surrounded by fellow patients that range from the pyromaniac Bale that she loves, Magpie the thief, Wing the girl who believes she can fly, and Chord the boy who thinks he can step through time, Snow knows that she's not completely insane despite the myriad of pills the Dr. Harris and his staff shove down her throat.
One year ago Snow's first magical kiss with Bale, the boy she's loved since they were kids, broke something within Bale, ruined their friendship, and resulted in her wrist being broken in two places. Bale hasn't been the same since, all he does sit and stare at the wall. Now Snow's only confidante is her orderly Vern who likes to watch soap operas with her.
Snow's life at Whittaker has substantially dimmed since Bale disappeared into himself, but when Bale goes missing - taken away from her by hands dragging him through a mirror - Snow knows she must go after him.
Aided by an unlikely ally in Magpie and a mysterious boy Snow only sees in her dreams Snow manages to escape Whittaker and enter a strange new land, Algid. There the boy, Jagger, and everyone else she encounters insists Snow is the one that they've all been waiting for... the Snow Princess that a prophecy foretold would kill the King and end the permanent winter they've been cursed with for the past fifteen years.
All Snow wants is to get Bale back, but every time someone tells her they will help her get him back they want something from her in return. In a world full of people all working on their own hidden agendas who can Snow trust? Will she ever see Bale again? Can she really gain control of her power over the snow and fulfill the prophecy? Does she even want to? Will she and Bale be able to escape from Algid and her father, the Snow King alive? What do you do when every lie you ever knew as truth is uncovered and your life stands on end?
I liked Stealing Snow. I did not, by any means love it. It was just okay. As far as retellings go, Stealing Snow is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, The Snow Queen. I did see the similarities between the two, but as far as retellings go, Stealing Snow is not one of my favorites.
Snow is locked in an insane asylum at the beginning of the book, but I can't quite figure out why. Because a six-year-old Snow tried to walk through a mirror? I'm not sure that really warrants institutionalization. Magpie's stay at Whittaker doesn't make much sense to me either, as I'm not sure kleptomania is a reason to be institutionalized either. But I understand that her placement at Whittaker adds into the plot later on in the story.
As far as the story goes itself, yes the fantasy is good. I won't say that it isn't. But the flow felt strange and disjointed to me. First Snow is with Jagger then she's separated from him. She meets the River Witch and begins to settle into her life there. Then she's separated from Kai and Gerde after a fiasco at the market and ends up with Jagger (again) and the Robber girls. Then after a time there, circumstances change again and she meets the "Duchess" and so on. I guess I just expected the story to go differently than it did. I know each piece is a stepping stone to the end of the story but I felt like Kai and Gerde disappeared and Snow didn't even bother herself to search for them, and then toward the end they make another brief appearance.
Overall, once I got into the story I want to keep reading, but as to whether I'd pick up the next book in the series, the answer is probably not. The story was all there, I just wanted it to be different.
3.50 of 5 Stars