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) wrote2017-08-01 07:54 pm

The Snow Queen, by Eileen Kernaghan

[personal profile] boxofdelights recommended this book to me when I expressed interest in books about the fairy tale The Snow Queen. This was a good one!

This book felt remarkably well-grounded in reality for a book based on a fairy tale. It was set in a specific location, in a specific era, and things are all very realistically depicted - like for example how Gerda needs to come up with a subterfuge to be able to leave home to search for Kai, because sensible parents wouldn't actually let their child just...head off for the wilderness like that. I liked the groundedness.

This book was also remarkably nice feeling. Everybody was helpful to Gerda! There were no betrayals! Obviously the Snow Queen, and winter itself, and the robber band are all dangerous, but they're straightforwardly dangerous, and there are always more good people to help Gerda out. A very unstressful book which I could relax into, though it also meant that there was less feeling of urgency, of forward momentum in the plot.

I also liked the extra focus on the robber girl. Named Ritva in this book, she actually gets alternating chapters of POV, making her a second main character. Her part of the story is about how she doesn't want to accept her heritage of shaman abilities from her mother, since she has very little personal respect for her mother. But eventually, because of Gerda, she learns to embrace her power and use it. Ritva is partly of Saami heritage, and I appreciated that the book didn't just gloss over the awful colonial heritage of white people's treatment of the Saami. And Ritva ends the book wanting to seek out once more the other two Saami women of power that she and Gerda met on their journey, to learn from them.

And the book also ends by affirming the importance of the friendship between Ritva and Gerda, and although they are going in different directions for the time being, they intend to see each other again. Which is excellent.