Stealing Snow is about a seventeen-year-old named Snow who has been locked away in a New York City mental institution called Whitaker for most of her life, after her mother read her Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland at six years old. She as a result tried running through a mirror with her friend and gave her a very bad scar. It's not all bad there, though. The main nurse Vern is no Nurse Ratched, allowing her leisure and leaves her a seat for some television. There she also met a boy who burned a house down named Bale, who gave Snow her first kiss, and in the process went on a strange rampage and broke her arm. A year later, Snow is receiving strange dreams of a snowy tree and being sucked into an abyss of water. Then one day Bale gets stolen literally through the looking glass and a strange man convinces Snow to escape the institution and go to the hidden land of Algid, a world dominated by her long lost father Lazar. There she has to learn her powers of the control of snow to take the thrown down, but in order to do that, she has to steal these special mirrors. It's a mirror of infinite power, split into three pieces and kept hidden from the king by various groups. So how will Snow put the mirror together, find Bale, and do the right choice on who should own the mirror pieces?
Now, I'll get this out of the way right now. One glaring problem I found was the fact Snow is sent to a mental institution at age 6 and has been there for 11 years for trying to run through a mirror. When I was three, my sister and I emptied our parents' dresser, creating a mountain of clothes to stand on to reach a candy bar. Everyone does something like that at that age of curiosity and optimism. I found that unrealistic. And Snow ends up more concerned about Bale than she is about herself, a character that we know has been Snow's best friend for years and a first kiss but as readers we are just meeting him so it's kind of hard to openheartingly fan over her boy as much as her. And she focuses a lot during her journey with only Bale in mind whereas she hasn't seen him for a solid year.
However, the twist is: I couldn't put this book down. There was never a moment where I wasn't interested, and unlike Fallen by Lauren Kate, Danielle Paige knows when to let us look around the world of Algid. It has been frozen over for 16 years, has constant drafts of snow so big they're in waves, and a special mirror split into three special parts and kept hidden from King Lazar.
There is a love triangle that forms, or more like love square, which may annoy some readers, and to be honest, none of the boys really seemed like Snow's soulmate. Romance was ironically something I felt could've just been put to the side, but Danielle Paige is not unaware of this. In her Dorothy Must Die series, I enjoyed all of the books (The Wicked Will Rise the lowest rated at only a marginal thumbs down) but each of them had a main thing I was annoyed with. I guess you could call Stealing Snow's one its unrealistic beginning, but after Snow gets to the tree, it lights up nicely. The book may have a lot of buildup by the second half for a big battle where I felt there could've instead been side missions but the book makes up for that with an actually kinetic and coherent twist, fight and cliffhanger.
Something Danielle Paige has a knack for doing is, even if there are a few trite moments in her previous series, she makes up imaginative potions and spells and lets them loose. She continues that streak here, especially when Snow is practicing her powers a little more than forcibly, when she is thrown off a mountain and has to use her powers to float back up, or when a witch ends up rogue and she has to blow a fist to the ground to put up an ice shield. As all of this was unfolding, I imagined the colours white and ice blue.
The book's ideas we don't see coming. For instance, Snow ends up in a room full of duplicate mirrors of the real thing during a stakeout. The solution she comes up with is to break every single one of them and the one that won't break is it. There's a fortuneteller that reads you through cards that each tell one word. The trees have lavender bark. This next one is less imaginative, but Snow ends up chased by wolves made of icicles and she has to jump down a cliff into a freezing river and finds she can't swim up to the surface, until she's rescued by the River Witch but needs help to tend to her hypothermia. Most books would have the character recover a lot faster from cold water, but this one did it I think more realistically.
Stealing Snow may have a love square front and centre, but it has as much in common with the squares of literature as snow does with stealing. Danielle Paige is right at home in the fantasy genre and gladly accepts our invitation, with a free coat check when we need to bundle up.