Michele Lee's Reviews > The Snow Queen's Shadow

The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines
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's review
Aug 30, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, favorites, reviewed, owned, jim-hines-books
Read from September 25 to October 01, 2011

Jim C. Hines' Princesses series quickly became one of my favorite reads and rereads. This time last year I picked up the first one because I had wanted to for a while and I'd be meeting Hines at World Fantasy Con. Now I've just finished reading the final book in the series.

Hines' Princesses series follows the further adventures of Snow White (a mirror sorceress exiled from her home for killing her mother, the queen who tried to kill her), Sleeping Beauty (also a refugee from her land where the fairy gifts given to her, and the curse of sleep, was all just a plot to kill off the human royalty of her land so the fae could rule) and Cinderella (whose happy story became more complicated as she realized marrying her prince meant becoming queen). Hines manages to create characters and worlds deeply steeped in the ancient stories that were Disney-fied for the modern age while also making his characters immediately relateable to modern readers.

There's always a bit of worry as a series goes on that the charge will lag, and that the end book will be unsatisfying. Especially as the previous books have allowed Hines to play with some source material (The original little mermaid and Red Riding Hood among others) and this book travels into more unknown worlds with a stronger Hines-only element.

When Snow's mirror breaks as she's trying to bring her beloved queen back from the dead the demon trapped inside infects her, wiping all joy from the world and sparking the bit inside her that craved vengeance on the country who punish and exiled her for defending herself while ignoring years of abuse her mother afflicted on her (and many, many other people). It's hard not to blame her for her icy rage, born of legitimate pain at systematic abuse.

But, deserved or not, Snow's punishment of people who betrayed her is vicious and casual. It would have been very easy for this book to slide into fantastic horror. It's also a dark path Snow resolutely refused before, which becomes the major driving force for Talia (Sleeping Beauty). Rescuing her son, kidnapped by Snow for his immunity to her magic, becomes Danielle's (Cinderella) reason for leaving her possessed husband and the grieving king in their time of need.

Soulful and magical, Hines' finale hits a perfect tempo between fairy tale and reality with leads all more courageous than readers could hope to be. The Snow Queen's Shadow doesn't flinch from politics, religion or gender issues, but neither is bound by it.

In the end, The Snow Queen's Shadow is damn near perfect. A satisfying read from cover to cover and a sad, but sweet send off for some of my favorite fairy tale lasses.
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message 1: by Alexis (new)

Alexis Just added the first to my TBR. You convinced me with the first 2 paragraphs.

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