“Stepping into The Snow Forest is like stepping into another world. The tall, tall trees make me feel small. My mind tingles and my senses come alive. Sometimes in the forest I feel so close to the story of my past I can almost hear it on the wind.”
I came across this book at one of my libraries and I just love books about folklore and magic, so this one had to come with me. It took me a bit to get through it. The first 100-ish pages were a tad slow and at times I wondered if I should just give up. Normally I would have. But I felt something tugging at me so I kept going. And I am happy I did because this turned out to be a very magical and beautiful book.
Meet Yanka, a girl grown up with many stories, but one she is still missing. That one of her family. She only knows that she was found in a bear cave when she was just a tiny thing. I really loved Yanka, but at times I just wished she had opened her eyes sooner. She kept saying she didn’t fit, but I could already see how much she was loved in the village. Even though she was big, even with how she looked, people cared for her. I loved how strong Yanka was. I mean, a lot of things happen in this book, a lot of things get revealed. And boy, many a girl or boy would have swayed away and just gone home, but not Yanka. She has important decisions to make and she does it well. She is strong and fierce. I loved that she was really thinking hard what she wanted to be. Bear? Human? Both? It definitely wasn’t an easy decision and it also required her to open her eyes and see the world, the people she knows. Because at the beginning of the story she may have made a whole different decision.
The book is filled with magic, adventure, folklore and a lot of heart. I really loved seeing all that Yanka encountered on her journey and the many new friends she made. The old friends she learned to trust more. I loved seeing a Yaga appear. There is a big dragon! There are curses! OH boy, there was so much and I was just totally into it.
Normally… I am not a fan of talking animals. But Snowtrap was pretty decent. Yes, sometimes very annoying and sometimes a bit too snobbish, but in overall this was a talking animal I could tolerate.
The stories that were interspersed throughout the book…. I loved the stories. But I do feel that maybe they should have been collected in a separate book. Or located at the end. I mean for most they just broke up the story for me. At times I just didn’t want yet another story about the forest. I just wanted to go on adventure. I wanted to see Yanka find out about herself and her family. Yes, sure, the stories gave us clues and gave us more insight, but it just was in the way for me.
The illustrations were absolutely gorgeous and I love the style of them. They fit so well with this magical story.
The ending was just WOW and WOW and there were twists and turns, revelations, but also it was a very wonderful and sweet ending and I love it.
So I would recommend this story. It’s a slow start, but after that it is just WOW and you cannot stop. I will definitely see if I can find the House with Chicken Legs in one of my libraries to give it a third try. Thanks to this story I definitely want to give it another chance.