Hi everyone! How are you doing? I hope you can find a way to stay distracted from *gestures at world*. Wouldn’t it be great if magic was real and we could just use it make everything alright? Unfortunately, that’s not possible, so we’ll have to make do with books about magic. Here’s my review of Through the White Wood, by Jessica Leake!
Katya’s power to freeze anything she touches, has made her an outcast in her isolated village. When she loses control and accidentally kills several villagers, she is banished to the palace in Kiev. Prince Sasha is rumored to be a cruel man, but Katya soon discovers he is just like her, with his own strange talent. He offers her a chance to embrace her powers, but outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies have gathered their own army of people who can control the earth.
This is a companion novel to Beyond a Darkened Shore, which I read two years ago and loved. That means that it’s set in the same world, and the main characters from BaDS make an appearance. But you don’t have to read that first book to follow the events in Through the White Wood.
And I had a lot of fun reading this one! Katya is a great character whom I fell in love with immediately. She grows so much in this book, from an outcast who is terrified of her own powers to someone who – despite struggling to control these powers – uses them to help the cause. And Sasha is such a sweet cinnamon roll! I also loved the side characters, and of course Ciara and Leif from Beyond a Darkened Shore!
The setting for this book – as you might have guessed from the fact that I mentioned the palace in Kiev – is Eastern European. It contains several elements of Slavic folklore, which you might recognize from other books like Spinning Silver or The Bear and the Nightingale. The story is also loosely based on history, but the author took some liberties (as she explains in an author’s note at the end).
However, this book never truly managed to surprise me. The story feels like something I’ve read numerous times before. And the twists/reveals were a bit predictable. It was enjoyable, but it just didn’t blow me away. So while Through the White Wood was a fun read with great characters, I give it 4 stars!