I Hate Winter: A Review of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
While I was waiting for my book order to come in the other week, I began a book from my TBR pile to pass the time. I thought Danielle Paige’s Stealing Snow would have been a good idea; I was wrong.
This is my first time reading Paige’s work. I’m familiar with the Dorothy Must Die series, and by “familiar with” I mean I have seen the books at bookstores. Therefore, I can say I know her work. This is just the first time I’ve ever been reading any book of hers.
Stealing Snow is Paige’s retelling of “The Snow Queen” mixed a tiny bit with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If you didn’t know that fact you probably wouldn’t see the similarities that are supposed to be in this book. Literally, the only things Stealing Snow has in common with “The Snow Queen” is a magic mirror, two character names, and magical beings. I can name so many fairy tales that this novel could possibly be based on; Snow White and Seven Dwarfs is one of them. I bring up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs because our protagonist names her medications after the seven dwarfs.
Oh yeah, our main character is “crazy.” I have a big problem with the way mental illness is presented in this book. I have a big problem with the main character of this book. I have a big problem with this book as a whole if I’m being quite honest. As always, a spoiler alert is in order.
Let’s start with the main character, she is a 17-year-old named Snow and she has spent the majority of her life in a psychiatric hospital called Whittaker Psychiatric. When she was a tiny child she thought she could be like Alice from Alice in Wonderland and travel through mirrors. She ended up hurting herself and another neighborhood child. This incident deemed Snow as insane and her childhood became medications and doctor appointments instead of fairy tales and make believe. Now at 17, Snow bites people and that’s what deems her crazy.
This is one of the worst depictions of mental illness I have ever read. There is no definition of what mental illness Snow is supposed to be dealing with. The other characters in the hospital come across as just “generic crazy person.” There are more descriptions of the pills Snow takes than descriptions of the actual mental illness the characters are dealing with.
The lack of care in depicting mental illness is tasteless and offensive. It truly feels like the author didn’t care enough to either research mental illnesses or depict it accurately. The secondary characters in the hospital are referred to as nicknames that represent why they are in the hospital. One girl believes she has the ability to fly, she’s called Wings. Another girl is a kleptomaniac; she is referred to as Magpie. The nicknames these characters go by are also their only personality trait because the author doesn’t care enough to fully flesh out these characters.
It doesn’t help that these characters disappear after the first fifty or so pages. You see, Snow isn’t actually crazy. She’s actually a princess from a magical land called Algid. She also has magical powers that she inherited from her father, the evil king of the land who wants Snow dead. Oh, and the time that she tried to run through a mirror as a kid? Yeah, the shards of glass that cut her actually gave her a permanent map of Algid on her body.
Don’t expect any more description of anything in this book past that map, this is the only description of really anything you get in this book. Character descriptions don’t exist. Setting descriptions don’t exist. Details aren’t in this book. Magical animals and beings aren’t described. How magic is used is literally written as “*insert character name here* did magic.”
Thankfully, the names in this book were unique enough that I could remember who was who in this book. And yes, I’m mainly talking about the men in this book’s love rhombus. Yeah, you read that right, there is a love rhombus. We’re one step above a love triangle here.
Somehow, our bland, whiny, boring, annoying main character has three men who are interested in her. And she meets them all within the first third of the book.
Firstly, there is Bale. Bale is a pyromaniac in Whittaker Psychiatric and is Snow’s best friend growing up. Snow falls in love with him, and when she has her first kiss with him, he breaks her wrist. It turns out that he is connected to the evil king of Algid and is acting through the king’s control when he hurts Snow. Not enough time is spent with this pair to discuss Bale as a character and how well the couple do together; let alone deal with the fact that he broke her wrist.
Jagger is up next, and he at least has some personality. He’s a bit of a cheeky guy who uses his cunning to get what he wants. He works with a group of robbers who Paige simply call the Robbers. As far as I can tell, he is the only man in a 40+ group of women. I trust him as far as I could throw him. The first moment he appeared I had red flags popping up; I did not trust him from the start.
Finally, there is Kai who is an architect. The standards are so low in this book that I automatically have to applaud him for having a legitimate job. As far as any smidgen of a personality goes, Kai is supposed to be the mysterious guy. Not only does he have walls up, but he also has a moat around those walls just to make sure people stay out. There aren't any inherent red flags going off when readers meet him.
Until you come to this realization. Snow is 17-years-old in this book. Bale is said to be 17 as well, but Jagger and Kai have to be in their 20’s. Yeah, the red flags were going off a lot for me in this book.
Wow, what a great group of guys we have here. How ever shall our heroine choose? Don’t worry, the love rhombus only has one man with Snow at a time. At this rate she’ll never has to choose. It does also help that one of the men may be dead by the end of the first book. Hey, I left a spoiler warning at the start of this post. At this point, I don't know if anyone is going to care to read this after my review.
So, if you couldn’t guess at this point, there is no world building. Algid is basically a frozen wasteland, but at the same time there are thriving towns complete with palaces.
Few people naturally have magic, but it’s hard to come by; you can also bottle and sell magic if you can get it. Confused? Don’t worry, so am I. The “details” in this book don’t make any sense. Magic works because it’s magic. People do things because they’re people. The writing in this book is so bad that I don’t know how to properly talk about it. I don’t have the words to describe this writing.
This book is terrible. Terrible! Horrible! Awful! I actually regret spending money on this book. Supposedly, there was supposed to be a sequel sometime in 2019, but no sequel yet exists. I’m glad. This book does not need a sequel; it needs to be left on the shelf.