Review: A Crown of Snow and Ice

A Crown of Snow and Ice is the third book in Melanie Cellier's Beyond the Four Kingdoms series. It tells the story of Princess Celine, a character who has been present in many of her previous books. Celine is the little sister of Celeste from The Princess Game, Clarisse from The Princess Fugitive, Cordelia from A Midwinter's Wedding, Frederick from The Princess Search, and the best friend of Sophie and Lily from The Princess Companion, A Dance of Silver and Shadow, and A Tale of Beauty and the Beast. After reading about her so much in the past, I already felt like I knew her pretty well, but this book still had some surprises to offer. Like Melanie's previous books, it takes many liberties with "The Snow Queen," the fairy tale it's based on, and places more focus on Celine's relationship with Prince Oliver than the on the chillingly dangerous Snow Queen herself. As such, it is a very different retelling of the story than Crown of Ice by Vicki Weavil or Disney's Frozen, both of which attempt to humanize the titular character of the fairy tale.

The Beyond the Four Kingdoms series is a sequel to The Four Kingdoms. The biggest difference I've noticed in the three books released so far is that all of the princesses in the newer one have supernatural abilities as opposed to the empowering heroines from the Four Kingdoms books who use their intelligence and wits to get out of tight spots. Sophie and Lily, the twins from the first two Beyond the Four Kingdoms books, have the ability to communicate with each other telepathically. Likewise, A Crown of Snow and Ice begins with Celine receiving the ability to control fire from a fairy godmother. Since this ability is new to her, we join her on the journey of discovering this power and learning how to control it. Unlike Katy from The Autumn Fairy who is afraid of her destructive powers, Celine embraces her new abilities and uses them whenever she can. With the help of Prince Oliver and his little sister Giselle, Celine manages to keep everyone warm on their dangerous quest up a snowy mountain to break a curse on Oliver's kingdom that has frozen everyone's heart.

It takes a while for the book to build momentum. The trek up the mountain feels as long and treacherous to read through as it does for the main characters, There are many stakes at risk for Oliver's kingdom if they do not achieve their goal. This novel did not include the colorful characters that Gerda met along her journey in the original "Snow Queen" but instead placed more focus on the effect of the shards in the magic mirror that froze people's hearts and their ability to perceive beauty. Only Celine's fire powers could melt the mirror shards and restore the cursed people to their former selves, but it was only a temporary solution that didn't work on everyone. To restore the entire kingdom, they would need to find an emblem that could block the Snow Queen's enchantment, which brought them on their dangerous trek up the mountain.

Celine has matured a lot since the earlier books. She's several years older now than she was in The Princess Game, and it's clear from the narrative that she places more logic into her decisions and doesn't act as recklessly as she used to. She's still brave and daring, but it's toned way down, which was a little disappointing because I would have enjoyed reading a book from the perspective of someone as rambunctious and emotional as Celine was in The Princess Game. She reminded me of Isabel from Elena of Avalor, but now she's just like all of the other princess heroines from Melanie's books. Her biggest strength is her determination. Reading about her unlikely solutions to her problems was the most enjoyable part of A Crown of Snow and Ice. Celine also related a lot to Oliver's sister Giselle because she was also once a little sister who had trouble earning respect from her siblings. Their relationship was just as fun to read about as the romance between Celine and Oliver.

A Crown of Snow and Ice is a fun book for fans of the Four Kingdoms and Beyond the Four Kingdoms series because it shows how much Celine has matured as a character from when she was younger. It doesn't offer much of a twist on the original "Snow Queen," but you can always read Crown of Ice if that's what you're looking for. I love how much effort Melanie puts into connecting the kingdoms and characters in her books, allowing them to feel like one big world of princesses and fairy godmothers. I definitely recommend at least reading The Princess Game and The Princess Search before this book to learn more about Celine and her family. I'm looking forward to learning what new superpowers the princesses in future books from the series will obtain.


Popular posts from this blog

Fans "Wish" Disney Had Used These Abandoned Concepts

Review: Disney Princess - The Concert

Princess Fashion

Review: The Spanish Princess/White Queen Trilogy

Review: Damsel (Netflix)

One Hundred Princesses for My 100th Post

Review: Unicorn Academy (Netflix)

Review: Time Princess - The Underground City

Review: Princess Peach Showtime!

Happy International Mermaid Day!