Sometimes surprisingly sweet, sometimes surprisingly dark, this retelling of The Snow Queen turns things upside-down in quiet ways. It’s fairly traditional in the set-up, and you can recognise each incident as you go along… until you meet Mousebones, the raven. He adds a lot of life to the story with his snarky comments and unique perspective. And then there’s Janna, the robber princess, who has rather more of a role in this version than I remember from Hans Christian Anderson’s — one he probably would not have thought of, really.
This is actually, though it isn’t immediately clear, a lesbian retelling of The Snow Queen — one that isn’t too surprising when you think about the robber princess’ fondness for Gerta in the original (or at least, the version I remember reading). It works really well, and the addition of the reindeer skin magic and the… weirdness when Janna has to slit Gerta’s reindeer-throat to bring her back to normal — that little bit of darkness works really well and brings some more colour and warmth into The Snow Queen; something I think is lacking in the original, rather pious and obvious story.
I don’t love it as much as Bryony and Roses, for example, but it is a well done retelling.