Seventeen-year-old Smitha has the wealth, status, and beauty that make her the envy of her town—until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha’s desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her renewed hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?
Unfortunately, I think it’s time for this author and I to break up.
As with her other books, while the ideas and concepts are fantastic, the execution really falls flat for me each time.
My first issue with the book is more of a personal peeve, however – and it’s what I like to call the Ye Olde English style of the writing. Now I know almost all fantasies are written this way, particularly the more historical ones, but some authors seem to get it spot on, and with others it just sounds a little cheesy. In this case, for me, it was the latter.
The main character, initially, is an utter brat. She doesn’t appear to have any good qualities, or if she did, they aren’t visible to the reader. I’m all for flawed, imperfect characters, but not to the extent where they’re one dimensional. She’s super rude to the boy who likes her – instead of just telling him outright she wants nothing to do with him, she just makes bitchy comments and strings him along.
Enjoy this section of quotes to demonstrate my point:
I knew I was pretty, with a heart-shaped face free of blemishes, a small nose, and big green eyes.
I hoped she wouldn’t butter them. Mother gained weight in the most unsightly of places.
She considered this for a moment but ultimately shook her head and returned to refining her mediocre talents as an artist. (In reference to her sister.)
He had not been the first man I had left waiting for me – I suppose it gave me a sense of power, even amusement, to push would-be lovers about as though they were nothing more than checkers on a board.
I did enjoy some aspects of the MC’s travels to new lands, as well as the people she meets – although the desert culture she encounters is pretty much transplanted from our real word Middle Eastern cultures. I also liked how the author addressed the practicalities of being a person of ice who freezes everything around her – which makes eating, drinking, washing clothes and other activities very difficult indeed.
The ultimate redemption, though, turns our character a complete 180 degrees, and she ends up like some kind of martyr Mary Sue. Also, I was a tad disgruntled with the fact that pretty much the highest calling/aspiration/path to happiness for women in this story were babies and marriage.
So, overall, while the journey was absorbing, I had too many issues with the character development and writing style.
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final publication.