Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Crown of Ice

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil
Published September 9th 2014 by Month9Books

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.
*An ARC was provided by Month9Books in exchange for an honest review*

Crown of Ice is a book that I simply had to read, despite not being familiar with it's source of inspiration: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.  And here's why: the synopsis described the main character, Thyra Winter as 'scheming' and 'unencumbered by kindness'.  Those are definitely not the usual adjectives used to describe female protagonists - especially in YA. The blurb goes on to say that Thyra is logical and a gifted mathematician.  Again, this just sounded so fresh and different from the usual teenage heroines in YA that I was instantly hooked.  I needed to get to know Miss Thyra Winter. She just sounds so different.  Well, that and the fact that she's the Snow Queen! Because really, how freaking cool is that?

So.  Our Snow Queen is the eternal queen of winter. She's cold, calculating and powerful.  BUT, unless she reassembles a shattered mirror before her 18th birthday, she's doomed to become a wraith. I mean sure, she has magical Snow Queen powers, given to her by a cruel wizard, but at 17...her time is running out all the same as if she was a regular human. Bummer.  Crown of Ice introduces us to Thyra Winter this way and author Vicki L. Weavil doesn't hold back in showing the reader that this MC will not be the usual YA-heroine.  Early on we are shown just how cruel and uncaring this Snow Queen can be.  Clearly, a less-than-admirable protagonist was one of my favorite aspects of this book.  It was just so refreshing to read about someone who is completely apart from the cookie-cutter females in young-adult books that have become the norm.  

As the synopsis explains, Thyra quickly sets her plan in motion to lure a young boy from the village, Kai Thorsen into helping her.  She knows that his skills in math rival her own and with time running out to reassemble this mirror, she needs all the help she can get if she wants to survive. And she wants to survive more than anything - believe me: Thyra Winter wants to gain eternal life. At.all.costs. There's a terrible bit early on with a mother wolf and her cubs that nearly shattered my heart but because of it, Thyra gains another accomplice in the surviving young wolf cub.  The wolf,  Luki was another of my absolute favorite aspects of this book.  I simply adore animal companions in my fantasy books and Luki was incredibly well fleshed-out and completely endearing! Kai was likeable enough as a secondary character but I feel like his character could have done with a bit more background.  I didn't find myself caring for him as an innocent trapped in all this nearly as much as I felt I should have.  That being said, his story was an engaging one in it's own right and I respected that he and Thyra were intellectual equals. It balanced things out nicely, you know, considering that he is a human and Thyra was the magical Snow Queen.

There is a romantic aspect to Crown of Ice but it develops veeeery slowly and in a completely believable and logical fashion.  Obviously, this was another huge plus - we all know how hard insta-love sucks, right?  I am happy to say that the romantic bits here were slow coming and even then, things didn't fall into place all at once.  I am even more happy to say that when the story wraps-up, the romance bits don't end in the typical way either.  The feminist inside of me was incredibly pleased by that :D  And it wasn't just the romance that was nicely-paced; the entire plotline of the book was nicely developed, and as an MC, Thyra had a very nice character-arc, from who she was when the story began to who she becomes when the story ends.  I just wish that the villain, and the few other secondary characters (like Kai) could have gotten a bit more attention, not just in terms of 'page-time' but where their past and motivations were concerned.

Crown of Ice was definitely a book that was worth the read for me.  I was over the moon about getting to know a protagonist who was so unique and compelling.  Thyra Winter is a character I won't soon forget!  I thought the idea of a Snow Queen was fascinating, her powers were cool (no pun intended!) and her wolf-sidekick was adorable ♥  As far as I know, this book is a standalone - another rarity, so I would definitely recommend this one to fairytale-retelling fans and readers who like a very different kind of heroine, one who's both twisted and compelling. Needless to say, I've since added The Snow Queen to my tbr shelf :)
 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


About the author:
 
Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing and visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.
Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

12 comments:

  1. I'm so glad this one worked for you! It's been on my radar for a while, also because the protagonist is cold, calculating, and a math genius. It's so different from the usual heroines! Aww, the wolf sounds so adorable ^^
    I'm also curious about that villain you mentioned, because the description doesn't really mention anyone apart from the running out of time. And no insta-love! Very happy to hear that.
    I'll definitely need to keep this one near the top of the pile. Great review, hun :)

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    1. I'm glad this one worked out for me too, before it, I'd been having the worst luck with arcs, so this restored my faith in then hehe Yeah the protagonist was my favorite thing about this one, WE NEED more unique heroines!! Oh and her wolf was the perfect companion ♥ And yes no insta-love made it all even better :D I hope you enjoy this one when you read it!!

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  2. I just love the cover to this book and I am pleased to see you enjoyed it. I featured it for my Wow so I have been keen to get it! Fab review!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. Love the cover for this one too and just like you I'd picked it for a WoW pik a while back :) I hope you can get your hands on it soon and that you'll enjoy it too!!

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  3. Oh, I'm definitely intrigued now! Because you're right, it really is very rare that you get an MC with that kind of personality in a YA book. And I love that! Well, I love that so long as she has a character arc - which I see you mention she does. I probably wouldn't be into it so much if she just wasn't likeable at all for the entire book. Also major bonus: animal companions FTW!! Overall, I'm quite pleased with this review by you - even with some flaws, it still sounds quite good. Thanks for this enlightening review, Micheline!!

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    1. YES exactly! It was her personality description in the blurb that lured me in so I was thrilled to have it be one of the strongest points of the entire book! And yeah she definitely evolves and grows throughout the book too :D And I agree with you on the animal companion bit FOR SURE! Loki was excellent ♥ I hope you'll check it out Aylee, I'd be curious to compare notes!

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  4. So many interesting elements going on with this! I don't care for goody-goody heroines (or heroes), either, and Thyra sounds like a breath of fresh air. I would probably read this just because I love animal companions, too, like Rosie the pig from Bridget Zinn's Poison. Lovely review, Micheline! :D

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    1. She really was a breath of fresh air, I wish more YA heroines were fresh and innovative like Thyra! And yeah, I'm a huge sucker for animal companions (like Rosie!! ♥) and Loki was a perfect addition to this tale! I hope you enjoy it too if/when you read it Lee xx

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  5. I've had my eye on this one, but I actually often have trouble with unlikable main characters, so it makes me nervous. I do like that she's a unique heroine, though. And I LOVE animal companions too!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Aww, I know what you mean. It's more that Thyra was cold and calculating at first. She was still engaging,it was just harder to feel for her. She evolves quite a bit though by the end! And YAY for animal companions :) Thanks for stopping by Nicole!

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  6. She sounds totally unique!! I've seen this one around, it sounds really intriguing! Ahd omg I love when animals are in books too! :) I'm also excited that it is NOT insta-love. Thank god!!

    -Wendy @ Book Scents

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    1. Animals in books - ESPECIALLY when they're magical are my total faves :D And yes, avoiding insta-romance is a HUGE deal to me too!! I hope you enjoy it too if/when you decide to read it Wendy! xx

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