Top positive review
An Old-Fashioned, Accessible Delight
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2013
First, some housekeeping. There are a lot of editions and versions of "The Snow Queen" available. Many versions, including this one, use the H.B. Paull translation that was first published by Scribner and Co. in 1867 and is now, I believe, in the public domain. I particularly like the H.B. Paull translation, but appreciate the fact that this volume also features illustrations by T. Pym. These drawings are loaded with Victorian charm, but aren't as compelling as some other illustrators' versions. That said, the publisher claims that the book has been especially formatted for the Kindle Fire HD. I have a black and white Kindle Touch, and I can report that the book displayed well on that.
So, you can download this Kindle freebie or step up to a classically illustrated version for a few dollars. Either way you will be well pleased.
The Paull translation of this story has an elegant old-world sort of feel to it. It is not so old fashioned that it is hard to follow, but it is not like some of the modern versions that are inclined toward glibness in the service of action and narrative drive. The story line is clear enough, but the execution is dreamy and intentionally artificial. It can be too "weird" or ambiguous for some tastes, which is understandable, and the fairy tale/fable quest can be read as a simple adventure story or a parable crammed full of symbolism and deeper meaning. (This is very similar to how one reacts to books like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", which coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, also features a white witch and a snow covered land.)
However you look at it, this is an inventive and imaginative tale that will entertain youngsters and invoke fond memories for many adult readers. (It's also a story that has been reworked in innumerable popular books, movies and and other forms, so it doesn't hurt to be familiar with it.) I have to admit I turned to it because it is a "classic" and because it was free, and I am very happy I acted on the temptation to download it.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.