Book Review: Winterling by Sarah Prineas
And now we come from classic fantasy to classic fairy tale with Winterling by Sarah Prineas. This is another well written juvenile book. It’s on the small side, with just under 250 pages. Most of the books I’ve been reading lately have touched 400 pages, so it was nice to come across a quick little read like Winterling. The story is classic fairy tale, with a distinct Chronicles of Narnia feel to it, complete with an evil winter queen character. Reading Winterling brought a sense of nostalgia for fairy tales and myths I often read as a child and I found myself really enjoying the book even though the plot was a common one.
Fer, short for Jennifer, lives with her witchy grandmother. While running through the wood one night she stumbles across a pool of water and saves a black dog being attacked by wolves. From there she is pulled into a land of wonder and magic through the Way. On the other side of the pool, Fer finds a beautiful Lady, a kingdom trapped in winter, and a people losing themselves to their wild animal sides. Something is wrong, spring will not come, and Fer must figure out a way to save the kingdom from a ruler who is not who she seems and discover the secret of her parents’ death and who she really is.
Winterling is pure classic fairy tale and a sweet little read. The plot is unremarkable and fairly predictable but the sense of nostalgia I felt while reading it warmed my heart. I felt like I should be cuddling up with my own grandmother and listening to her read to me. Winterling is the style of story that is so familiar because a lot of the same plot elements are seen in common fairy tales. These elements are a type collective memory in the human soul we all share and are present in fairy tales around the world. As such, we already know what’s going to happen in the story but in my opinion that doesn’t detract from the book. The fairy tale is what it is and doesn’t try to be anything else. I feel sort of bad because Winterling really is a good book but I can’t seem to find much to say about it!
The characters have traditional fairy tale roles as well. Fer is the lost heir. She is the seemingly ordinary girl that turns out to have an extraordinary lineage. Rook is the magical creature trapped by evil, a good guy made to do bad things and the fae trickster. The Mór is the evil queen, the ruler whose evil corrupts the land and brings eternal winter. We even have a journey to a magical land through a strange portal (thankfully, not a wardrobe). It’s all very Narnian and C.S. Lewis-esque. These elements are so familiar to us as a culture that the story feels like curling up in a wooly blanket.
Winterling by Sarah Prineas is a book anyone, young or old, will enjoy reading. It’s the type of story that connoisseurs of the fairy tale genre will love and has the classic elements that will appeal to a wide range of readers. This is a book that people will recognize and feel comfortable with because of the familiar fairy tale components and characters that feel like old friends. Reading Winterling was rather like coming across an old cherished memory; the rediscovering of a piece of childhood. I recommend it to anyone looking for a quick, entertaining fairy tale story. This would make the perfect bedtime story for any age.
Posted on February 9, 2012, in book review, books, modern fairy tale and tagged book, book review, books, fairy tale, fiction, magic, Sarah Prineas, Winterling. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.