The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman is the second novel of hers I have read and and I have to say that I am really enjoying her writing. I picked up a hard cover copy at the Housing Works Book Fair for a buck. What a lucky find!
Alice Hoffman's novels tend to have a dab of magic and the impossible in them. But it's not absurd. It's not awkward. She makes it seem plausible...which I love.
The ice queen of the title is a small town librarian who's let her heart grow cold because of the guilt of a fateful wish she made as a child which causes someone she loves to die. She grows up to be a nice but distant person who does not open up to anyone. Again, she makes another spiteful wish come true and is struck by lightning hindering among other things her ability to see the color red. Thus, her world truly becomes icy without the ability to see such a vibrant hue.
After joining a "survivors" group of other lightning strike victims, she goes on a search to find the almost mythical survivor, Lazarus Jones, who supposedly defied death and survived not one but two strikes. Since she is a wisher of death, she wants to find the one person who can defy death.
I loved this book. Not as much as The River King, but still it was such a good, short novel. It wasn't so much the plot itself but in her writing. The way she described blood-red oranges devoid of color. How color affects the senses, mood, and alters perspective. And I loved the side characters of Ned, her brother and his wife. It's not so much a coming-of-age story as a life finally blossoming.
Here are some other covers of The Ice Queen. I'll leave you to read the story to find out the symbolism of the butterfly:And of the tree in these:
Also Reviewed By: