sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
sophia_sol ([personal profile] sophia_sol) wrote2017-07-03 12:45 pm

Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu

I picked this up because it was recced by [personal profile] skygiants as her favourite Snow Queen retelling, which obviously was going to be of interest to me as a thorough and longstanding Snow Queen fan.

She recced it to me as being about rescuing someone being more complicated than you'd think, featuring earnest sad eleven year olds being emotionally devastating. And the earnest sad eleven year old part of the story is REALLY EFFECTIVE. I loved earnest sad eleven year old Hazel, and the whole first half of the book, which is basically just about that and her codependent relationship with her best friend Jack, was absolutely fabulous.

The second half (about rescuing someone being more complicated than you think) didn't work for me as well. It all took place in a fairy tale woods sort of situation, where Hazel's search for her friend Jack caused her to intersect with a whole variety of fairy tale archetypes. It all felt rather too jumbled and episodic to me, it didn't really feel like it cohered into a single thing that was actually going anywhere. Which admittedly is also a complaint I have with the original Snow Queen story so I guess at least it's feeling true to the original there? At any rate, many of the various individual scenes in the jumble were quite good, but all put together it didn't work for me. Which was really disappointing to me after how brilliant the first half was!

And then the ending felt like something of a let-down too, like it wasn't a bad ending but it also just felt kind of perfunctory.

To be honest - and this feels really weird for me to say, as someone who generally vastly prefers genre fiction - I think I would have liked this book better as a book set in the mundane contemporary world with the only fantastical elements being the ones that our nerdy imaginative main characters make up.

At any rate: this book is still totally worth reading for how good the first half is, and probably the second half works better for people who aren't me since different people have different tastes in how stories ought to go and it was well written for the kind of thing it was.

And if anyone has recommendations of other novels based on The Snow Queen please do let me know so I can read them too! So far this one and the one by T. Kingfisher are the only ones I've come across.
skygiants: Utena huddled up in the elevator next to a white dress; text 'they made you a dress of fire' (pretty pretty prince(ss))

[personal profile] skygiants 2017-07-04 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
I love the second half as well as the first, but I totally get why the sharp left turn into SURPRISE BUNDLE OF SHORT SURREAL SEGMENTS would not work for many people!
justice_turtle: A penguin on a yellow background, captioned "I dived out of sight into an alleyway GRACEFULLY" (frobisher alleyway gracefully)

[personal profile] justice_turtle 2017-07-04 02:07 pm (UTC)(link)
It's not a novel, but this is a longish origfic based on The Snow Queen. (Disclosure: written by [personal profile] bookblather, a good friend of mine, I don't recall if you know her.)
boxofdelights: (Default)

[personal profile] boxofdelights 2017-07-04 06:27 pm (UTC)(link)
The Snow Queen, by Eileen Kernaghan is definitely worth reading. It was published by a tiny Canadian Literature publisher, so it might be hard to borrow a copy. I'd have to go to Lubbock or Fargo to find a public library that has it: https://www.worldcat.org/title/snow-queen/oclc/474535320?loc=80521. But it is still in print.

This retelling is like Andersen in packing a lot of specific and intriguing detail in a small space. It is also like Andersen in that Gerda is, I think, an emotional masochist, which is probably repulsive unless it works for your id. It breaks free from Andersen by making Gerda's relationship with the robber girl the center of the story, and contrasting the power of a friendship that is mutual with the futility of giving your love and loyalty to someone who just doesn't care all that much about you.