This is my second book by Jacque Stevens. The first one was also a fantasy story but totally different from this one. The Winter Falls is a retelling of the story of the Snow Queen.
The story of the Snow Queen that I am familiar with is the one on the Chronicles of Narnia and Frozen. *Cue in background music for the "Let it go!" the sound track* I have also watched the movie where Emily Blunt played the role as Snow Queen opposite Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. The difference between this story and other versions of the Snow Queens that were done is that on this version the Snow Queen is part of the four princesses that are responsible for the four seasons. This also included an alternate-universe-kind aspect--the real world and the fairy tale world co-existing in the same time and the portal to cross between these two worlds was through a broken glass shard.
What struck me most about this is the author's note. The author described how this story came about. This was written when she was going through hard times as cold and desolate as winter time. Then this book got published in summer which spelled a lifting of the coldness and the coming of warmth and good things in her life. What I love most about everything she said was that, like everything else, winter ends also. No matter how cold, bitter and desolate it could get, spring comes and melts all the terrible experiences and lingering feelings winter has brought. This is a story of hope.
In a lot of ways, I can closely relate to what the author is talking about. Winter--the all encompassing metaphor for the hardships, loneliness, separation and emptiness we experience trying to get through life. And like the seasons, life moves on and with it the changes that come forth. Some of these changes we should be willing to initiate to finally find comfort and warmth. Others we need to accept as challenges thrown our way. We may not like them but they bring some sort of blessing or force us to find strength from all the strangest places. Just like what happened in this story.
I enjoyed this! The part where the main character, Katie, ended up in another world was so exhilarating. In that alternate universe, she was able to confront her weaknesses and find her strength. I think a lot of people can relate to Katie. We all have our own fears and frustrations. Most of us have built walls to not be hurt again. To protect us from getting our broken hearts from further crumbling to dust. We have fashioned full-body armors out of desperation and depravity as defense from all the foes whether human or otherwise. We walk around carrying these cumbersome armors in the hope of resisting pain and discouragement, all the while adding to our burdens.
I give this book 5/5 mirrors. Knowing where this story came from has affected me most. It made Katie's character so relatable and got me so involved in her experiences. I guess, understanding what the author went through and having been through the same contributed to the depth and sorrow expressed in the story. Yes, reading this felt like winter--freezing, isolating, desperate and tormenting but also filled with hope, just like all other fairy tale stories. It's always darkest before the dawn but through it all, the morning sun rises with all its glory and melts all the darkness to oblivion. This also pointed out a lot of parallelism to real life. If you haven't known, fairy tales are taken from real stories. They just use a lot of symbolism.
Whatever I had lost, had been missing for years and was certain to be gone for good.
- Jacques Stevens, Winter Falls -