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The Ice Queen

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  14,258 Ratings  ·  1,417 Reviews
From the bestselling author of Practical Magic, a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning.

Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending
Paperback, 211 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Back Bay Books (first published 2005)
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Will Byrnes
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The logic of fairy tales was that there was no logic: bad things happened to the innocent, children were set out in the woods by their parents, fear walked hand in hand with experience, a wish spoke aloud could make it so.
I wept while reading the final chapter.

Our first-person protagonist, in a spat with Mom on Mom’s 30th birthday, wishes her dead. Mom’s demise that night defines the eight-year-old girl. She will express no love, no affection. She will listen only, go along. She embraces dea
Aug 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like being depressed
Recommended to Nadir by: My sister
Oh. My. God.

This book. It was never ending! The style of the writing was dull. Yes, some of it did have a poetic twist about it, but really? It was depressing. That's pretty much all that can be said for it - the author can force the reader into depression. When I read the main character's emotions, I actually felt like I was on a down spiral. Yes, that's a good skill. But Alice Hoffman doesn't stop! It is all misery. Not just understandable misery, either. Misery about the stupidest, childish
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books which creep up on you unawares. I had finished it months ago but it was only as I finally rejoined the GR reviewers and sat down to write this that I realized it was still reverberating gently in my mind.

It is a love story but not a straightforward one. There is an underlying theme of the need to come to terms with bitterness and self hatred. There is the recognition that gradually dawns for characters and readers alike as to how misunderstanding, misrepresentation and
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think we've all been asked a thousand times about our favorite books. I've always found it hard to answer and so I would mention my favorite authors instead. But then I found this book. I don't really know what happened... I think it was love at first sight. This is one of those books in which every single word matters. I know that's supposed to happen in every single novel but this book is different... each word is a precious piece in the brilliantly built puzzle that is this story. The emoti ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.4 stars
This book ripped my heart out then threw it against the wall only to pick it up, stomp and kick at it with steel toed boots.

In the misery, the bleakness and the dark hole that became my chest there was a light weak but bright. The author was able to keep me focused on that little light, it wasn't hope of a HEA it was much deeper it was the spark of life to breath to continue. Her words are beautifully sewn together, visual and emotionally charged.
Depressing stories are my kryptonite nor
Nov 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Exquisite, I really love Alice Hoffman's writing, all that magic, beauty and love she puts into it makes it something to savor. We have to deal with a significant amount of pain in this one as well, as a little girl who is burdened with the guilt of believing that she has caused her mother's death begins the process of learning to feel again through the cataclysmic event of getting hit by lightening when she is an adult. Weather often plays a large part of Alice Hoffman's stories, it really is a ...more
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen  (Today in Jen's Library)
This book made me realise that I do believe in magic as a real thing. The "magical realism" part of it didn't seem fictional to me.

Hoffman intersperses a lot of philosophical musings about self-identity and value throughout this story. It's a reflection of the fairy tales she references in the book, full of a melancholy darkness that ends well despite the cost. It's the journey of someone who thinks she did something unforgivable to her self-acceptance upon realising that she can't control ever
May 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
If I could, I'd give this a firm 3 & 1/2 stars because I'm not sure I loved it but I more than liked it. I like/love most of her books. I like fairy tales and this book was full of fairy tale references - the story itself is really a fairy tale. It is short and it is a quick read. I had great trouble warming to most of the main characters but this was meant to be. The last pages made me cry because, in the end, I really felt for those same characters. Any book that elicits tears deserves, I' ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
"Be careful what you wish for. I know that for a fact. Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things. They
burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back. They bruise
and bake and come back to haunt you……."

I read 'The Ice Queen' by Alice Hoffman years ago but recently I stumbled across the audio version and decided to listen. I really liked reading the book but listening to this audiobook narrated by Nancy Travis was a whole different experience… different in a good way, th
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
How does one go from giving three stars to a Booker prize winner to giving this inconsequential book a four star rating?

First, tell a story well. Second, describe everything vividly and throw in a little wisdom. Third, be the kind of book one is looking for. I was looking for a page-turning escape and I got it.

Being the bearer of two “I wish you’d die” wishes coming true, the nameless narrator grows up fearful of and fascinated by death, obtaining knowledge that is tapped into by a local polic
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you too are slogging through this and think the author may be just a wee bit too enamored with her love for metaphor and symbols, and you think the main character is not sympathetic, but kind of a pitiable loser, then you're thinking as I did through almost the first 3/4 of this wonderful and touching novel. I write the above because if you're tempted to abandon the book before you get to the end (as I did), you'll be cheating yourself out of an amazing, meaningful, and completely touching pe ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it

I just read this really great book by Alice Hoffman. It's titled The Ice Queen.

From the get-go I was hooked. Hoffman has the knack for creating a narrative that is compelling. The main character, who remains nameless through the whole book, is a woman obsessed with death. As a young girl, she gets mad at her mom as she is driving away. In a moment of fury, she wishes her mom dead. It is the dead of winter and the next day, the young girl wakes up to find that her mom was killed in a car accident
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'll be damned.

For years, I've been avoiding Alice Hoffman, because, you know...Sandra Bullock.

As it turns out, I love her! (Alice Hoffman, that is.)

(And I now officially have 50 favorite books.) *confetti*
Carolyn F.

Oh my gosh! First of all I've liked the narrator/actress Nancy Travis on TV and in the few movies I've seen her in but I have never realized what a great actress she is. The bitterness, hurt, love, yearning, etc all come across so wonderfully. I am for sure going to listen to more of her audiobooks and definitely watch more of her movies. I'll have to do a search for her works and I'm probably going to be pleasantly surprised by all of the movies she's done.

Now for the book. Great! A l
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mod-lit, fantasy
The Ice Queen opens on a common domestic scenario, in which an eight year old, furious because her mother is going out for the evening, petulantly wishes she'd never see her again. Of course, wishing can't make it so, but this little girl, an avid reader of fairy tales, believes it can. Her mother's car skidded on ice, and heavily burdened with guilt, the child freezes herself emotionally, growing up a social isolate obsessed with reading and death. Years later, when she idly wishes she'd be str ...more
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Frozen in misery since age eight, when the mother she wished would disappear promptly obliged by dying in a car wreck, the thirtysomething unnamed narrator of Hoffman's hypnotic new novel has spent her life avoiding meaningful human contact. As a New Jersey reference librarian, she relentlessly pursues the details of death in all its countless causes while engaging in after-hours backseat trysting with a local cop. After settling near her brother in Florida, the narrator is struck by lightning. ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: npl
I was feeling very ambivalent and having trouble connecting with any of the characters in this story. Then came Ned's "Chaos Theory in Fairy Tales" -- and the entire story fell into place for me!

Told in 1st person, it's a kind of fairy tale in reverse -- or a deconstructed fairy tale. I think one of the reasons I was not connecting is that throughout the story, anytime there would be a seemingly magical moment, it was explained away by the completely rational physical reactions of her condition.
Simay Yildiz
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The ending kinda threw me off, but it was a wonderful ride!
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the writing style of this book and the story as well....However, i feel like it wasn't for me. I loved it but i also hated it if you know what i mean.
Oct 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of fractured fairytales
Here on Earth is still my favorite Alice Hoffman novel. With Hoffman, it's pretty much hit-or-miss but I never hesitate to pick up her books because of her lovely prose. She writes metaphors so well and is able to make the most squalid things seem magical.

This story opens with a selfish little girl who lays a curse on her mother and is forever tortured when her mother dies soon after. She then lives a half-life as a librarian preoccupied with death and fairytales. One day, she wishes herself to
Nov 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Tilbatilba by: A friend
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Blumenthal
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that the author wrote about 7 years ago, given to me by a friend. I have become enamored with Alice Hoffman after neglecting her books for years (I think her last two books were both exceptional). This one is essentially a modern day fairy tale, and it teeters on the fantastical throughout though deals with the very heart of human emotions. At times I had decided I would give this book only 4 stars, but Ms. Hoffman wraps it up so superbly that I decided on adding that ultimate sta ...more
Sep 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's Alice Hoffman. Therefore it is almost impossible to rate this book less than four stars. But I'll warn you: It's one of her more depressing novels. Alice Hoffman loves to drag her characters through beautiful and magical mud before she gives them their happy ending, and so it is with this book. However, the uplifting ending is bittersweet and extremely short, with the majority of the book dedicated to metallic buzzing headaches, color-blindness, and the after-effects of both a dead mother, ...more
Nov 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Amy by: Chana Plotke
I feel really guilty, I normally love Alice Hoffman's writing, but this book just didn't engage me. Not that the writing wasn't good, or that the ideas were ambiguous or that the imagery was missing -- it just didn't capture me. When over halfway into the I didn't like or care about any of the characters, I started skim-reading. I caught many of the fairytale references and could have a willing suspension of disbelief on some things that happen in the story. Even so, I found it a bit too melanch ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was really intrigued by the summary on the back of the book, and therefore went into it expecting to thoroughly enjoy it but it fell short. It started off okay but by the 100 page mark I found myself wanting to skim read, and not really caring about anything the main character was talking about or doing. The main character's relationship with Lazarus was a bit strange and I didn't understand why she felt so drawn to him. 2 stars.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have never read a novel based on being struck by lightening. Never really gave the aftermath of living through that experience a second thought. I wonder if the symptoms described are true? Can someone really remain that hot all the time? Burn another human being with touch alone? Eat garlic and temper the heat expelled? This was a sad tale, oh so sad. But uplifting at the same time.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I found this in the seat back pocket on an airplane, and although I usually can't read on planes this captured me and I had to finish it so I took it with me, but to return the favor I left it in the seat back pocket of the next airplane.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good and quick book.
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CMLE Librarians E...: * January Book Selection: The Ice Queen 2 8 Jan 24, 2017 09:42AM  
Alicia's Badges 4 5 Apr 19, 2016 05:35PM  
A Million More Pages: The Ice Queen: May 21 60 28 May 24, 2015 09:30PM  
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
More about Alice Hoffman...

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“Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws.” 258 likes
“People hide their truest nature. I understood that; I even applauded it. What sort of world would it be if people bled all over the sidewalks, if they wept under trees, smacked whomever they despised, kissed strangers, revealed themselves?” 251 likes
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