Title: The Snow Queen
Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Audiobook Length: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: December 1844
Bottom Line: Disappointing. Good thing I didn’t pay anything for it, nor did I have to sacrifice a credit.
“This classic tale is a fantastical fable of two dear friends – one of whom goes astray and is literally lost to the north woods, while the other undertakes an epic journey to rescue him. This charming, strange, and wonderful story is a timeless allegory about growing up and the challenges of staying true to one’s self, and it served as the wintry inspiration for the blockbuster hit Frozen.”
Thoughts: While it is well-known that The Snow Queen is the inspiration for a certain Disney movie, one must interpret the word inspiration loosely, for the two stories are really nothing alike. In fact, The Snow Queen is not really about the Snow Queen at all. She makes two brief appearances in the entire story with several more references to her from other characters to round out her part. The rest is the story of a little girl off to find her best friend who wanders off by himself and forgets everything he loves.
The Snow Queen is an odd story. Separated into seven parts, each section leaves the reader with a lesson to learn. Unfortunately, the seven parts feel unnecessary, halting the flow of the narrative and keeping a reader distant from the action. Also, given that the story is so short, one does not expect a large amount of character development, which is a good expectation because there is none. Kai and Gerda are mere puppets meant to show the reader that when they forget their loved ones, trouble ensues. Lastly, the lessons are extremely Christian in nature, with overt references to God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. While one expects the morality lessons of fairy tales to be fairly obvious, one does not expect them to be quite so outspoken as they are in this.
Even though Ms. Whelan gives yet another pitch-perfect performance with her narration, it is not enough to make this a spectacular audio experience. The story just is not that good. It is decidedly anti-climatic, leaving readers wanting more of everything – more action, more adventure, more evil, more magic, and definitely more Snow Queen. After all, the title of a novel should have some bearing on the story.