Book Review: Of Wind and Winter (Tale 1 of the Snow Queen), by Danyelle Leafty:
Aneira is 9 years old when she is kidnapped by Baba Yaga, and if she ever hopes to see her family again, she must help the witch. What starts out sounding like a straightforward task soon becomes complicated, for everyone Aneira encounters wants something in return for their help. And then there is the mysterious Lord of Winter himself and his beautiful land to consider. Aneira must learn to listen to her heart and make the best choices possible in a world where there are no easy answers.
This lyrical story reminded me of the Riddle Master series, by Patricia A. McKillip. The settings are stunningly beautiful, with vivid description that puts you right there in the scene. The characters are a complicated mix of good and bad qualities, each with their own agendas. Baba Yaga is horrible and creepy, and yet by the end of the book I feel sorry for her and understand her better. Aneira is a little girl who just wants to go home to her family, but she is also kind, quick-thinking, and full of courage. She dares to do the right thing even when it is going to be really hard. The ending was not your typical fairy tale ending, but it was logical, fit the story, and left you with the sense that there will be more to Aneira’s story later. I look forward to reading Danyelle’s next book.