|This is one of Lackey’s several fine novels based on traditional fairy tales and set in her 500 Kingdoms universe.
The Snow Queen Aleksia lives in splendid isolation using a magic mirror to see what’s what in the 500 Kingdoms. The nature of her Tradition is to kidnap young men who usually need a firm lesson in humility. Her isolated winter palace is frequented by lone males who need to discover their real heart’s desire and redeem themselves while learning a few hard lessons far from their beloved or soon-to-be beloved.
The Snow Queen (really a very nice woman) has a current resident: a selfish inventor who has not seen how much he is loved by his young maiden until she tries everything to find him.
But in the midst of this the Snow Queen finds that she’s being imitated by an evil witch who has frozen whole villages to death, animals, children and all - besmirching Aleksia’s reputation in the process.
Outraged, she decides she must leave the icy confines of her palace and venture out to right this wrong, knowing that if she does she may become part of the Tradition and effect change more than usual.
Meanwhile, a young apprentice mage has gone missing in a village inhabited by the Sammi people who herd reindeer (based on the nomadic people of
). The mother and girlfriend of the mage Veikko seek his kidnappers and go deep into the area haunted by the evil witch.
There are trials, magic, of course and good and bad along with cleverness and heart in this tale.
I love these novels: despite the troubles and nasty events all ends happily, even for the bad witch. And all the ice and snow is perfect for a hot summer’s day. ~~ Sue Martin