The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen - Hans Christian Andersen, Lucie Arnoux, Misha Hoekstra

Although I am crazy about fairy tales and fairy tale retellings and have been since I was very young, this story was completely unfamiliar to me when I started it.


I was rather bemused at that, given it was one of those stories I had assumed I'd read at some point, and of course I've seen Frozen, so I figured that would give me some basic idea of the plot.


I was extremely wrong on both counts.


This is very much an old-fashioned fairy tale, which should be obvious given the author's name but one might be allowed some level of surprise given it is being announced as a new release. It is not; this is simply a lovely translated and illustrated version of a very old story: a story I liked quite a bit.


This isn't going to replace my favorite fairy tales, since I think at this point they are cemented so hard in my brain from years of repetition that I don't think anything can replace them, but I liked the depth of it quite a bit. I was not expecting the sheer amount of mini-stories contained in this one longer story. It is a small epic, with side plots that advance the main plot and a length that feels unusual in a fairy tale.


Gerda, our heroine, is certainly deserving of the word, for all that I'm a little bemused by her ability to overlook certain aspects of her friend Kai's behavior. The spell provides a decent scapegoat in this, but I'm still hard-pressed to admit that I would go haring off to save someone who acted like such a Grinch to me.


The trials and tribulations she faces on her journey are very much in the fairy tale style, obviously, and I enjoyed this quite a bit. The translation appears to be quite good, in that it carried with it a level of magic you don't always see. The language was beautiful at times.


Reading it on the Kindle Fire as I did, I think I missed some of the beauty of the physical copy, but even what I saw of it suggested it was lovingly organized and the cover illustration was quite beautiful.


I'm very much in favor of this new tradition of beautifully illustrated physical copies of old children's stories, and I like that it is expanding beyond the traditional Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to things that many of us may have overlooked as children, but might want to share now.


This book was provided to me for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.