“Do we LOOK like we need to be rescued?”
Finally! And wah, it’s the final book in the Princess series. Just as it felt like Hines’ Princess series was in full swing, it ended. The Snow Queen’s Shadow been out for four weeks, and if you haven’t bought it for a summer read in the shade to join your other three books in the series, why haven’t you?
If you haven’t, I’ll give you some reasons why it’s so good. At its heart, it’s all about mothers and daughters and sisters and how love is perverted into hatred or morphed into revenge. There are no Daddy Issues(tm) in this final installment in Hine’s Princess series. Can I tell you how refreshing that is in a fantasy?
This is Snow White’s story all the way. I wish we’d had more hints earlier of Show White’s background other than the broad details of her fairy tale, but SQS fills in her horror-filled childhood and young adulthood well. It’s the happy-go-lucky quippers who always seem to have the most tragic, horrific backgrounds, eh? Not that the other princesses don’t have their own issues and harsh background stories, but Snow White’s mother affected many more people than her own family. She ruled a powerful kingdom in a way that Caligula would have envied. Talia’s betrayal involved her prince and his family, and while the they took over her kingdom and aren’t what you’d call nice, they also weren’t killing their citizens off in a sport-like manner. Cinderella? Her stepmother and sisters kept it personal, and they didn’t rule a huge, powerful kingdom like Snow White’s mother did.
The characters are solid, with believable motives that aren’t necessarily spelled out in great detail, but make sense when you think about it. The only thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was the mostly-proxy method of finding out about Snow White through another character…sort of another character. You have to read to understand it. Upon a reread, I couldn’t see how Hines could have done it any other way. It’s a good solution, but vaguely unsatisfying.
Talia and Danielle, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella respectively, have large, active roles. Danielle needs to save her child from what Snow has become, and Talia needs to save Snow from herself & the mirror demon. Queen Beatrice is gone, and Snow White’s need to hold on to her is the catalyst for all the action to follow. And there is a lot of action. Talia gets to whupass. Danielle gets to use her cleverness and political adroitness. And even under the influence of a demon that eliminates hope, Snow White is still Snow White. Irrepressible, powerful, and focused.
So, dear fellow readers, make your way to your bookshop and have a riproaring adventure. Girls rule! (really!)