Sunday, May 1, 2016

Review: The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

by Mercedes Lackey
Book 4 of Five Hundred Kingdoms

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

Aleksia, Queen of the Northern Lights, is mysterious, beautiful and widely known to have a heart of ice. No one would seek her wisdom except as a last resort. But when she's falsely accused of unleashing evil on nearby villages, she realizes there's an impostor out there far more heartless than she could ever be.

And when a young warrior following the Tradition disappears, leaving his sweetheart and mother to fear the worst, Aleksia's powers are needed as never before.

Now, on a journey through a realm of perpetual winter, it will take all her skills, a mother's faith and a little magic to face down an enemy more formidable than any she has ever known.

I'm leaning more towards a 2.5, but I can't muster up enough like to give it 3 stars outright.

As I have already mentioned in two status updates, this story started off extremely slow. The central conflict and the main adventure didn't even get underway until about halfway through the story. For some books, maybe this formula works, but if we're going to spend 50% of the book doing world building and story set up, I would have at least liked for it to be worth while.

While I enjoyed the parts concerning Godmother Aleksia and how her life runs as the Snow Queen, Ice Fairy, I got pretty tired of the Sammi and of Annukka and Kaari pretty quickly. There was nothing about either of the two women, or even of Veikko, to make me really care about what happens to them or him if the Snow Queen got her way. There was little to no mention of Veikko, himself, or of Lemminkal or Ilmari for me to really care about them either. Between all the main Sammi characters in this adventure, it felt almost as if the story was trying to introduce key players, but cut short their significance.

Once again, I honestly just didn't care enough about the characters themselves (save for Aleksia) to really put much stake in the final resolution of this story.

The other thing that bugged me a lot were the oh-so-convenient resolutions lain in the right places. It didn't take long for me to predict how the entire story was going to end based, not only on how The Tradition works magic, but also on how typical story boards play out. Every conflict had such a prettily packaged solution that it actually started getting a little irritating. Conflict in this book was merely conflict carefully placed in the proper progression to propel the story forward. I was not amused nor was I awed by anything that happened.

Nonetheless, it wasn't like I completely hated this book. The prose and the concepts and the background lore of the world of Five Hundred Kingdoms still really entices me. I honestly like the magic in this world and I like the world itself. Had this adventure been written a little better, I might have enjoyed the story itself, but ultimately, the two stars really came to be because of the Five Hundred Kingdoms world on its own. The including half a star is given to Aleksia who is quite the spunky Snow Queen Godmother whom I enjoyed following along with.

Other than that, I've got nothing else to say about this book. It wasn't terrible by my standards, but I could have passed on it any day if I didn't like the world it's set it so much.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in April 2013.

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