Disclaimer: As with all my reviews there is the possibility of spoilers, though I work my hardest to avoid them when I can, I feel spoilers are appropriate when it comes to critiquing at times.
More Than Shadows Here
Back when I read the third book of this series, titled Red Hood’s Revenge, I absolutely loved the plot and design of this world. In fact the premise is highly resonant to my series with the focus on faerie tale characters after their faerie tale has already occurred. Just like my series, it gave more tangible life to faerie tales and made the characters more into people with a story to tell rather than some metaphor or shell to insert whatever a person wanted. Even better with this series though, was seeing a non-white lesbian character as the main focus. Literally all the same things I’ve been attempting with my books.
And so I will say easily that I am heavily biased to this series because of how many things in it connect with something I’ve already written.
The Snow Queen’s Shadow is the fourth and final installment with Jim Hines’ faerie tale princess series. And it tackles something huge, but also both unexpected and expected for a series like this: love. Not just the romantic kind but love between a mother and child, love between friends, and loving someone when it is literally the hardest thing to do, because that person isn’t making it easy at that moment.
But that isn’t what it is all about. So let’s start somewhere at the beginning of the storyline. We start with the known but painful death of a character which leads to Snow White trying to bring this character back to life. And if anyone has read modern works, bringing someone back from the dead never turns out well. Instead the spell backfires on Snow White and soon we have family turning on each other and most of all, Snow White going rogue after wrecking the queendom, and leaving behind a present for Talia.
If anything I would call this a retelling of the famed Snow Queen series of tales, more so than the sadly disappointing (from a folklorist standpoint) Disney movie: Frozen. This episode offers some fun twists and interesting dynamics that could have gone so very wrong with the creation and death of some characters, but instead became something sweet and surprisingly possessing a Happily Ever After.
In fact, one of the best moments comes with a quote that is now my motto: Happily Ever After is a choice. Sorry Jim Hines, I might steal that line, I love it so much. The best part is we don’t have the only main non-white character die at the end and we even get bliss for her too! Although at a price she will always carry with her. But overall I couldn’t help but enjoy and suck up this entire book. It’s everything I could hope to create myself. If I had known about this series before I started my books I probably would have given up on mine because my first book has so many similarities to unveilings in this last book.
Now that I’ve started though, I feel like I’m continuing where Jim Hines left off. Because it does need to be continued, there is always more to tell in the faerie tale universe.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely we will see more of this series from Jim Hines, since we were lucky to even get the four books out of it that we did. But maybe one day. Until then, much of the story focuses specifically on Talia and her love of Snow and how that is resolved I couldn’t possibly have imagined until I read this. It was a perfect ending for Talia being so love-sick over Snow White.
Overall though, this was a well done story, and a fitting conclusion to a series like this that didn’t sugar coat things. People died, but happily ever after lived on as best it could. It was a realistic ending to such a heavily fantasy story. And if I’m putting such a focus on Talia and her love, that’s because this whole story came to exist because of Talia. It was because of her crush that the story had to keep going til this fourth book. And I absolutely loved that Talia even brought back the use of the Red Cape she obtained from Red Riding Hood in the previous book.
As for my imps, they actually liked this tale better than the Red Hood’s Revenge one. It had more depth and power behind it, possibly because it was a closing out to the series. Still because the book covers all the main categories my imps are concerned with, we see all five imps enjoying it.
Five out of Five Imps