Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: The Ice Queen

The Ice Queen
Alice Hoffman

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: April 2005

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 211

Author Site:

My Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Paperbackswap


From the bestselling author of Practical Magic, a miraculous, enthralling tale of a woman who is struck by lightning, and finds her frozen heart is suddenly burning.

Be careful what you wish for. A small town librarian lives a quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks it into a new beginning.

She goes in search of Lazarus Jones, a fellow survivor who was struck dead, then simply got up and walked away. Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets--what turned one to ice and the other to fire.

A magical story of passion, loss, and renewal, The Ice Queen is Alice Hoffman at her electrifying best.


This is my first time reading Alice Hoffman but definitely not the last. The Ice Queen, while somewhat depressing at times, was almost lyrical and poetic in style. The nameless main character is introduced as a selfish child who thinks of no one but herself. She makes a foolish wish one icy January night and loses her mother. She then grows into a cold and distant woman who makes death and fairytales her forte. She isn’t really close to anyone, including her brother, and leads a very quiet life as a librarian. One night she carelessly makes another wish: to be struck by lightning. Instead of killing her, the lightning brings amazing and unbelievable changes to her life.

I was sucked in at the beginning. Hoffman has such a dramatic way with words. Her writing is simple and to the point. Yet, I felt a lot of emotion in her short sentences. I admit I did get a bit derailed in the meat of the story because it drags a little at times. Some of the parts are downright depressing and it felt like I was trudging along through the pages. But I admire Hoffman’s ability to put emotions into the story. The main character certainly isn’t a very happy person and that comes across very strongly. She’s not a mean or unkind person either. She just has a very cold personality and has a dreary outlook on life. She definitely isn’t a favorite character of mine. However, I still found myself liking her. It takes her a while to grow and change but I feel this novel is more of a journey anyway, so it’s okay.

I did have a little trouble wrapping my brain around the concept of the effects the lightning had on her and Lazarus. Maybe those effects were supposed to have an air of mystery about them. *shrugs* But I did enjoy the many references to the Grimm fairytales. I have yet to read any of the original Grimm fairytales and The Ice Queen definitely made me want to familiarize myself with them. The fairytales are important to the main character and who she is as a person. I liked the fact that they stayed throughout the novel with her.

I think my favorite part of The Ice Queen was the ending. The entire book was definitely a different reading experience for me but I came to really care about the main character in the end. I’m looking forward to reading more of Hoffman’s work; especially Practical Magic (loved the movie!). I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a unique story.

P.S. (cover talk)

Eh, it’s alright. Definitely has a distant and cold feel to it which matches the story and title. But honestly, I don’t really like it all that much.


Blodeuedd said...

Great review. Perhaps not the book for me though.

And I am with you on that cover, perhaps fitting, but not something I like

Fallingladies said...

OOOh, I had to comment, I love the book, and actually love every book alice hoffman has written. But if you don't like the air of magic or unprobability of this one you may not like her others. They've all got just the smallest amounts of magic and the idea life could be this way. Practical magic was less dramatic than the movie, the boyfriend never comes back to life like that in the book so don't look for huge theatrics! I love them all though!

Ladytink_534 said...

You've got to read Practical Magic! I loved that one and I've always vowed I'd read something else by her but never got around to it. This might be what I pick, thanks for the review!

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

Blodeuedd - This one was definitely an aquired taste but I really enjoyed the writing.

Fallingladies - Thanks so much for commenting! I don't mind the lack of dramatics and I enjoyed the magic within this book. I have a feeling I'll be enjoying Hoffman's work.

Tink - If you ever pick this up let me know what you think!

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