Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5 stars
Dense and dreamy, this book contains a very simplistic and nice fairy tale-like story dressed up with a lot of fancy language and imagery. It is on one hand evocative and mood-setting, while on the other hand bloated and annoying.
I'm not a reader who likes the "dreamscape" feeling, so I really didn't like McKillip's foggy, dreamy wanderings into the vague fairy world. I don't feel like I have a firm explanation on why some things happened the way they did, or even on what exactly happened in a few cases. I feel like there was a lot of "Because, fairies" and not much else of substance provided.
I don't like that, and that intangibility will make this a story that does not stick with me very long, like a dream that already starts disappearing and not making sense as soon as you wake up.
I also don't tend to love the cruel whimsy of fairies, so there's that working against it too. Also, I hated the romantic betrayal. I know, I know, it was a spell or...something? But I don't like cheating, even when it's fairy-induced.
I did appreciate the story and images of winter. The feeling of snowfall, simultaneously beautiful and oppressive has lingered with me.
Authors like Juliet Marillier and Sharon Shinn have a similar style where they use words and imagery to carefully craft a stunning story, but I think those two authors provide more meat to their stories and characters, whereas this book felt like the heavy words and imagery were used to mask and prop up a thin story with stock characters.
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