//by Jackson Pearce//published 2013//
This is a fairy tale retelling, and one that I didn’t particularly enjoy. For me, it was a book that felt a little disjointed and difficult to follow at times. I never really felt a lot of empathy for the heroine, and the friendships she made along the way seemed to go from zero to “wow I completely trust you with my life” within about five minutes. Combined with more or less no explanations on the how the rules of this world work, Cold Spell was ultimately a 2/5 for me.
HOWEVER I will caveat that, once again, it appears that this book is part of a series. It is, in fact, the fourth of a series that currently has four titles. Even though reading the synopses for the other titles doesn’t make it sound as though they flow together, it is possible that there were overlapping characters/concepts from earlier titles that would have made Cold Spell a little more readable.
But the truth of the matter is that if a book is part of a series, and it needs to be read within the context of that series, FREAKING PUT IT SOMEWHERE ON THE COVER. Or maybe a page around the title page. I don’t care where, but SOMEWHERE make it obvious that there are other books I need to read first. I am running into this problem more and more often and it is SO. AGGRAVATING.
Anyway. Okay, so this is supposedly a retelling of the “The Snow Queen,” but it isn’t really, because it really isn’t anything like “The Snow Queen,” except a woman with a lot of power over snow kidnaps a young and handsome man. Kai, the victim, has been Ginny’s (the heroine) best friend since they were very small. Kai is a very talented musician from a fairly wealthy family, while Ginny is an average girl from an average family. Kai lives with his grandma in an apartment building that his grandma owns; Ginny and her mother live in the building as well. Kai’s grandmother disapproves of Kai’s friendship with Ginny. Ginny and Kai don’t care, and, now that they are in their senior year of high school, they are planning to move to New York together so Kai can study music and they can be together! Forever! True love!
Then Kai’s grandma dies really abruptly and in swoops Mora, an incredibly beautiful and rich young woman, who bespells Kai and sweeps him away. Ginny is determined that something is wrong with the whole situation, so she sets off in pursuit and engages in many adventures before finally catching up with Mona and Kai for the final showdown.
Here’s the thing: I never really liked Ginny. I didn’t dislike her, either. She just… was. Even though she is the narrator, and I have access to her feelings and thoughts, she still felt like a sort of stiff character. Even though she theoretically grows and becomes stronger as she learns to be her own person, instead of someone co-dependent on Kai, it felt more like that change was external more than internal, if that makes sense. Like, she was doing the things, but I never felt like she really got it on the inside, even though Pearce had her think/say all the right things.
The other thing that really annoyed me was how Ginny would just so happen to run into people, and those people would just so happen to be the perfect people to help her and even though Ginny is super suspicious and running for her life she would just so happen decide that they were worth trusting after all and then it would just so happen that they are actually perfect people! Wow! Imagine! Like the one couple Ginny runs into and they hang out for like a day or maybe two and then she is thinking about just continuing to live with them indefinitely??! What?!
The world building was a huge problem for me, and, like I said, may have been better if I had read the other three books that I DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED SINCE THEY AREN’T LISTED ANYWHERE ON OR IN THE BOOK, but as far as my reading went, it was terrible. We get little snippets of Mona and her story/motivation, but it’s never really fully explained. (Werewolves? They want her back? She becomes one? She kind of is one? Not sure?) Ginny meets up with these gypsy people, and we don’t really ever get a story about them, either. There werewolf-hunting brothers just randomly show up with minimal back story, too.
Despite all of that, I’ve definitely read worse. While I wasn’t hungry to return to Cold Spell when I wasn’t reading, I didn’t dread it, either. And I did want to find out what happened to Ginny. (And I kept kind of hoping that I was going to get some answers.) There were even a few decent conversations, if you could get yourself to ignore the fact that they were happening between to virtual strangers who apparently found it completely natural to confide in each other.
“What do you do?”
“I…” I trail off. … “I don’t really do anything.”
“Don’t do anything,” Ella asks, drumming her fingers on the sofa, “or don’t do anything yet?”
I smile. “Is there a difference?”
“Huge difference,” she says. “People who don’t do anything annoy me. People who don’t do anything yet excite me, because they can potentially do everything.”
But in the end, even a few good conversational snippets weren’t enough to pull Cold Spell out of it’s below-average rating. So a 2/5, and maybe that’ll teach ’em to not mention that a book is part of a series!