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Crown of Ice (The Mirror of Immortality) Paperback – May 9, 2017
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"The Snow Queen is one of my favourite fairy stories... Crown of Ice was a masterful re-telling of it. Wonderfully manipulated by the author into a YA book and was enjoyable as an adult too. Overall, I'd give Crown of Ice 5 out of 5 stars - a must read - especially on a winter's night wrapped up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and purring cat on your lap - or on a train or anywhere else!" -- Nicky Peacock blog
"Crown of Ice is a clever and solid enchanting adventure filled with magic, love, friendship and self-discovery that was perfectly paced and wonderfully written and I look forward to reading what [Gilbert] has in store next! A fun escape!" -- Winterhaven Books blog
"I was enchanted by this book from the opening paragraphs." -- A Dream Within a Dream blogspot
"Crown of Ice was great young adult fantasy novel. It offers an interesting and refreshing retelling of Snow Queen fairytale, but also so much more - realistic, confident and a bit bad heroine, magic, cute animals, subtle romance, ... I warmly recommend it to all YA fantasy fans." -- Bookworm Dreams blog
- Publisher : Snowy Wings Publishing; 3rd ed. edition (May 9, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 214 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1948661381
- ISBN-13 : 978-1948661386
- Reading age : 13 - 18 years
- Grade level : 7 - 12
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.54 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,995,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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-Crown of Ice by Victoria Gilbert
Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. She kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time melting away she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.
Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts – to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's love, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.
I thought this was a really enjoyable read. The bleakness of the wintry setting reminded me of the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I almost felt cold just reading it. The antagonist's castle was also depicted in an eerie way with the wraiths and animals that were transformed.
Thyra Winthers is the female main character. She was a sensitive girl who was traumatized into walling off her emotions. I think two separate quotes really illustrate this:
'"I smile in return—a smile as slow as a glacier, and as cold. “I’ve no fear. Your spells and training ripped that from my heart.”'
“Strange, the girl who wept over nothing, whose heart was more tender than green shoots of grass, has become cold and hard as a glacier.”
Thyra has been through a lot in her formative years and a truly horrible fate awaits her but she makes some really callous decisions with people's lives in an effort to avoid that fate. We see her "thaw" as the story progresses into someone who is able to express her compassion and empathy. I enjoyed her character development and thought it was well done.
Kai Thorsen is the male protagonist and love interest of Thyra. Kai is hurting, exhausted, and working single-mindedly to finish the mirror. In general, I think he is good and that he genuinely cares about Thyra but one thing I can't excuse, and will never excuse is the fact he lashed out at a couple animals. Maybe I could see that if he's under the effects of the mirror? If he was under the influence of magic and I simply misread it then that will be one thing. But if it was of his own free will, it's not ok. I should state right now that in no way do I think the author's intent is to excuse or glorify animal abuse however I think perhaps the way it was presented, at minimum, could use clarification.
Was Kai under magical influence? I don't know. I do know that he faced no real consequences for taking a whip to the muzzle of a restrained, sentient elderly reindeer and kicking at a juvenile pet wolf.
"Luki presses his head against Kai but is thrust away by one swing of Kai’s leg. The wolf whimpers and slinks off a few paces."
He expressed regret but that's not enough. In order for me, as a reader, to accept a character's growth past choices like these, I need to see real consequences, real change, and real growth. He didn't learn from it though and even manhandled Thyra a little. Remorse is not a consequence. Remorse without change is not growth. Anger, heartbreak, despair, and depression will never be a reasonable excuse to abuse others. If it was, then our court system would look a lot different. A person who regrets kicking a dog is still a person who kicked a dog. Regret doesn't ever erase our choices or the consequences of those choices. A kicked dog will always remember that your foot was the foot that struck them. We can learn from our choices. We can grow from them but a terrible choice is, and always will be, a terrible choice.
Coming down from my soapbox now, since that one element is my only complaint. I really do think the author has created a wonderful fantasy novel. You will see that not everything and everyone is as it appears. I think she really put her heart in creating this book and I think it deserves to be read. Since I tend to give the benefit of the doubt, I won't take a star away for my above complaint and I hope it doesn't keep you from giving this book a fair try. The side characters are delightful and I do think she's done something unique here. Truly well done!
"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne