Gathering Frost (Once Upon A Curse #1)
Rate: 2.67 (0-50%: 4; 50-75%: 1; 75-100%: 3)
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed Jade’s voice and how she told the story. I like how the story began with the moment that changed the world and then flashed forward to its present day. Jade wasn’t being whiny, she was being matter-of-fact. In the beginning, Jade is the strong, collected, female guard in a sea of guards. It’s difficult to explain why I enjoyed the first half of the book so much other than liking Jade’s perspective of the city/world. It’s different from the stereotypical young adult female voice.
The only thing I didn’t like about this section was that Davis describes the people under Queen Deirdre’s power as emotionless, but really they’re just unemotional (yes there is a difference). Davis’s description would mean that the citizens feel nothing, not love or indifference or curiosity or yearning, but I noticed Jade expressing some of these feelings. A better way of describing the trance Queen Deirdre puts the people under is that she makes them unemotional. Jade has feelings, but they’re fleeting and most of them aren’t positive. This means that Jade isn’t feeling nothing, she’s feeling little, which makes what Davis is trying to do different from what actually comes through in the story.
It isn’t until this point, when Jade and Asher kiss and break the curse, that I remember that Gathering Frost is a Sleeping Beauty retelling; that’s how subtly Davis weaves the fairy tale into the story. I actually enjoyed how subtle it was because I was able to focus more on the development of the story instead of looking for points of comparison between Gathering Frost and Sleeping Beauty. What I didn’t like about this section was how Jade’s personality does a complete 180 after she and Asher break the curse. I expected the insta-love. I mean what’s a fairy tale without insta-love? But I was disappointed that Jade went from being this level-headed, cautious,calculating young woman to this overly emotional, giggly, boy-crazed girl. One minute she enjoyed Asher’s company simply because she was learning new things and didn’t have anything else to do and the next moment she’s reveling in Asher’s hotness and noticing how hard his abs are. Jade’s a completely different girl now. I also didn’t like how easily Jade adopted the girlfriend role. She’s never been intimate with a guy before, has never dated or kissed a guy, but all of a sudden she knows how to snuggle into Asher and how to kiss him and isn’t weirded out when he’s kissing her neck. That’s not realistic. My first relationship wasn’t that smooth; it was awkward. My first kiss didn’t involve tongue, against a wall, for a few minutes. This relationship isn’t relatable at all. Man, this section was upsetting.
This latter part of the story was enjoyable simply because it seemed like Jade finally returned to being herself. Sure she was pretending to be hard and frozen to save Asher, but it was more admirable than if Jade had just followed Asher’s plan and hoped everything would work itself out. While everything did work out in the end, I was a little disappointed at first that certain people didn’t eat the bullet like I expected them to, but the way Davis moves into the second book makes it worth. I now eagerly await the second book, Withering Rose (a Beauty and the Beast retelling), to be released so I can see how this story continues and how Davis executes the retelling.