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.

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