Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. She kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time melting away she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.
Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts – to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's love, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Crown of Ice
The Mirror of Immortality Book 1
By Vicki L. Weavil
Snowy Wings PublishingCopyright © 2017 Vicki L. Weavil
All rights reserved.
MY PARENTS LIE SOMEWHERE BENEATH the snow, buried with my mortal life.
I spend endless days searching for their remains. Tucking a piece of the mirror inside my fur-lined cloak, I harness one of my milk-white ponies to a sledge. Flying over ice and snow, I hold up the shard to catch the rays of the sun.
"Show me," I order the reflective glass. "Show me where they sleep."
The fragment of mirror flashes with prismatic color, but I never catch a glimpse of my parents' icy grave. They are gone — lost to the mountain and the winds. An unfathomable ocean of snow sucked them into its depths, far from even my powers of perception.
I can see much, but never their faces.
I was only five when they were swept from me. When I recall that horror, I remember my tears. I never weep now, but in those days it wasn't unusual for me to cry. My mother claimed I was born with rose-petal skin — too fragile to protect me from the world's thorns. A single harsh word or a sharp look would reduce me to hysterical tears. Seated between my parents in our small sleigh, my father gently admonished me for grabbing at the reins. It was enough. I cried. My parents hushed me, their eyes frantically darting about. But it was too late. My wails echoed through the narrow mountain pass. A roar drowned my cries and a great wave of snow rushed toward us.
My mother lifted me up, as if to wrap me in her arms. A gust of wind tore me from her and bore me aloft, carrying me some distance before tossing me into a snow bank. I didn't see the sleigh disappear, but I heard everything — the screams of the horses, the agonized cries of my parents. Late at night I hear them still.
The villagers always said God took a hand in my life. But it wasn't a deity that snatched me from my parents' icy tomb. It was the hand of master mage Mael Voss, conjuring a wind from the safety of his frozen fortress. Surveying the countryside though the largest fragment of his magic mirror, he spied my plight and saved me. Not from any sense of tenderness, or pity — there were no such emotions clouding his crystalline eyes, even then. He had a use for me. He saved me for himself.
Voss sent the farmer to find me and carry me, shaking and wailing, to the village — an old man who never understood why he was compelled to trudge across his frozen pastures that day, or why he climbed to the pass that led from his village to the greater world. He located me by the sound of my crying. The one time it served me well.
No sounds, even to my enchanted ears, can reveal my parents' resting place. They've been silent far too long. After a while I lay the reins lightly against the pony's neck to turn us from the mountain pass. As darkness creeps over the fields and forests we head to a castle carved of ice. We head home.
At night the palace's crystal halls are tinged sapphire. One of the first bits of magic Voss taught me was to set the carved walls alight so I'm not forced to walk the halls in darkness. I conjure a cold light that glows within the thick walls without melting the ice. I mastered this trick quickly once I knew what those shadows held. If I leave an area in darkness, they come — the girls who reigned as Snow Queen before me.
"I must find it." Their hollow words twist about me like a shroud. "The last piece. I must place it. Give it to me."
They are only shadows — swirling mists that occasionally coalesce to create phantoms of their former selves. So many girls, from so many eras. Some from the far past, their ghostly bodies attired in ancient robes and strange, peaked headdresses, and some dressed in the garb of more recent years. I know there is nothing left of their real nature. A curse has destroyed their minds. All thought is lost to them, except for the memory of their final terror. Of every shape and size and time, they share only one trait — the absolute agony that burns within their hollow eyes.
They suffer a fate that makes ordinary death look like a blessing. It is the loss of so much more than a body — the sacrifice of the soul and the destruction of mind and will.
I would free them if I could. Allow them the respite of a true death. Send them to their rest.
But it does not matter what I might desire to give them, I cannot alter their plight. They thrust their hands at me, but their fingers can neither hold nor grasp. They are not dead, they cannot die. Mael Voss made them immortal when he made them queen.
But the wraiths, deathless as they are, hold no power. They are merely the remnants of girls who failed. They could not accomplish the one thing Voss asks, no, demands — that his Snow Queen piece together a shattered looking glass.
He needs the mirror whole for some purpose I cannot determine. I only know it is a magic totem Voss values above all things. Stranger still, Voss requires the assistance of other hands to restore the mirror, despite his own magical prowess.
The wizard constantly foils my attempts to understand the purpose of the looking glass, but I know why I was brought to this cold kingdom. It is simple enough to connect my fate to the stories I heard as a child, told in hushed tones near a brightly burning fire. How, long ago, Voss stole a girl from one of the surrounding towns and transformed her into something the villagers could comprehend, and fear. The embodiment of brutal winters, of ice and death — the Snow Queen.
Voss gave his young queen magic of her own. She never felt the cold that froze others in a breath. Frostbite could not eat into her body. She could call forth blizzards and blighting frosts. She could even slow heartbeats until animals and humans fell into stupors that led to death. But Voss was no fool. He'd create no creature whose power could challenge his own. Aided by the mirror's own magic, he added a draft of poison to his spell. The girl who reigned as queen had to reassemble the magic looking glass before her eighteenth birthday. Fail, and she was transformed into a bodiless wraith, doomed to forever wander the halls of her former palace.
My name is Thyra Winther, and I am seventeen years old. I have five months to restore the mirror or suffer the fate of my predecessors.
I often encounter them in the shadows, their translucent faces frozen into masks of grief, their eyes devoid of memory, of sense. I stride past them. Or through them, if necessary. A disgusting sensation, like walking through a spider's web — light as milkweed floss but clinging to my skin. Still, I'd rather endure such unpleasantness than stay in their company, haunted by a constant reminder of my fate.
"The final piece," they whine. "I have it. I hold it. I will place it correctly. I will remain queen."
They cannot truly speak with me — their words are those burned upon their tongues when their lives were ripped into shreds of mist. Only when they warn of my future, channeling the power of the mirror's curse, do they speak anything other than their foolish, repeated phrases.
"You'll do nothing." I snap at them. "You are smoke and air and unending stupidity."
It does no good for me to show any kindness. They comprehend nothing. Their gaze is turned inward, focused on their memories of horror.
I stalk away to the safety of my bedchamber, where a cold flame fills the icy fireplace and the skins of slaughtered beasts cover the walls and floor.
They failed, all those who came before me. But I will conquer Voss's task. I am no ordinary girl — nothing like the wraiths, although they were once a bit like me. I am brighter than the borealis, sharper than an ice crystal, stronger than the northern winds. I will reassemble the mirror and reign as Snow Queen forever.
* * *
Curled upon my bed, I contemplate the leather-bound notebook in my hands. It contains pages of calculations, all the equations I've created to systematically piece together the fragments of the mirror. The looking glass itself does not reside in my rooms. It lies upon a massive wooden table in the Great Hall of the palace. Two-thirds of the mirror now gleams brightly, the fragments perfectly fused together. But I've learned each piece must be placed in the exact position from which it fell. Insert it incorrectly and the mirror will reject the fragment, spinning it off to the opposite corner of the frame.
I keep one piece of the mirror in my chambers, as I know Voss keeps one in his. The final two pieces, to be placed when all the rest is complete — and our protection from one another.
So far, Voss is pleased with me. I've progressed further with the reconstruction than any girl before me. He claims I'm fortunate in my choices, but it's not luck that has gotten me this far. It is logic and mathematics. I wield these skills to piece together the mirror and survive the isolation of Voss's icy fortress.
As I page through the notebook I notice a multiplication sequence and a memory surfaces. I am eleven years old and my foster mother Inga Leth has forced me to accompany her to church. She has no interest in taking me anywhere else, but at church I am her badge of honor, the symbol of her virtue and charity. Everyone else has left, headed home to their Sunday dinners of salted fish and potatoes. But Inga's still chatting with the minister, her hands flying about, punctuating her words.
Scrunched down in a hard wooden pew, I stare at the simple metal cross that hangs over the altar. Two lines that intersect — not centered but balanced. I lose myself in contemplation of the mathematical precision of the figure. My eyes instinctively follow the lines down and up and across. Perfect.
"I can do calculations in my head," says a voice, and I slide around on the varnished seat to face a boy. He is my age or just a bit younger. He has hair the color of walnut shells and eyes as dark as holes cut in an ice-covered lake.
"I can," the boy repeats. He must have read the doubt on my face.
"Who are you?" He doesn't have that look of the others who stare at me. His eyes are bright with curiosity instead of disdain.
"My name's Kai Thorsen. My parents and I are visiting my uncle." He examines me carefully. "What do they call you?" "Thyra," I reply. "Thyra Winther."
"Oh. You're the orphan rescued from the avalanche."
"Yes." I force myself to stare into his dark eyes. Even visitors to the village have heard my story. "I'm good at sums, my teacher says. Better than most boys."
"I don't think you're better than me." Kai states this as a fact. There's confidence, not arrogance, in his voice.
"Calculate something then." I pull a small notebook and pencil from my skirt pocket as I slide over to allow him to sit next to me.
Kai calls out two large numbers and I write them down. "Multiplied," he says, closing his eyes for a moment before giving the answer. "Divided, smaller into larger." This answer takes a little longer.
I stare at my notebook, where I've figured with pencil and paper. Kai's answers are correct. "You aren't bad."
"Now you," commands the boy.
I hand him my notebook and pencil. "You call out the numbers." I twirl a strand of my curly hair around my finger. "Make it difficult."
He gives me a complicated series of numbers to add. After a moment I provide the answer.
"You got it right." Kai looks up from the paper and smiles for the first time. "Now multiply the first two, if you remember."
I concentrate and provide the answer. Kai scratches the pencil across the paper and whistles loudly.
"Not in church," says a girl who has wandered up to our pew. She looks a few years younger than Kai. Her hair, the color of aspen leaves in autumn, is tightly braided and wound about her head. Her cheeks are blushed pink as a ripening apple and her eyes are light blue and clear as water in a mountain stream. "No whistling in God's house. You know better, Kai." The girl places her plump fingers on Kai's thin forearm.
"Gerda, this is Thyra and she can calculate" — Kai shakes off her hand — "almost as well as me."
"As well," I say. The girl stares at me. I lift my chin and glare back.
"You have strange hair," says Gerda. "It's almost white. And your eyes are clear as ice."
"My eyes are gray," I say with a sniff. "And it's not polite to comment on other people's appearances."
"But you're beautiful." Gerda smiles and I realize as her face lights up that she's the pretty one. I'm unusual, odd, peculiar. Or so I've been told, many times, by my foster sister Begitte and her friends.
"Is this your sister, Kai?" I take back my notebook and pencil.
"No." Kai gives a dismissive shake of his head. "Her name is Gerda Lund. My parents and her parents are friends. They traveled with us. They know my uncle too."
"And we are friends." Gerda reaches for the hand Kai has draped over the arm of the pew. "Right, Kai?"
"I guess," mumbles the boy.
Gerda giggles and clutches Kai's hand. "Of course we are. Best friends. Now, it's time to go. Grandmother's waiting for us outside. And it's a bit cold out."
Kai shoots me a little smirk. "Gerda's my shadow — she follows me everywhere."
"Oh." I tap the pencil against my palm. "Well, you'd better run along then. Don't want to lose your shadow."
They depart, Gerda clinging to Kai's hand. As they head down the aisle Kai turns to glance back at me. "Calculate this." He calls out two numbers. "Divide. Larger into smaller."
After a moment I yell back the answer. I catch sight of his smile before he leaves the church.
"What is all this racket?" snaps Inga, bustling up to me.
I stand and slip the notebook and pencil back into my pocket. I compose my face and steel myself against the slap I'll receive when we step outside.
Kai, I think. Kai Thorsen. A most unusual boy.
* * *
I stare at my notebook. I've run every equation I can imagine at least twice. I've done well so far, but I know I'll never complete the mirror on my own. Not in five months. Not before my fateful birthday.
I never spoke to Kai again after that day in the church, although I heard his family moved to the village to inherit the mill after his uncle died. With them came their closest friends, the Lunds. When Gerda's father died unexpectedly, Kai's father took over the business, but the Thorsens made sure Gerda's family continued to receive an equal share of the profits.
These events occurred after I was taken away by Mael Voss. Ripped from my mortal life to survive in a palace of ice, I live alone except for the servants Voss conjures from lesser creatures. I only return to the village in the winter, the wind and snow swirling about my sleigh, disguising my true form. But I always notice Kai and Gerda — Kai, tall and slim, a mathematical genius, destined for the university, for greatness. Gerda, plump and merry, fair as a summer morning, destined — everyone says — for motherhood, for love.
I have five months to consider every variable and reassemble the final portion of the mirror. I have my intellect, and will, and an unquenchable desire to survive at any cost. But logic informs me I can't complete this puzzle on my own.
I need someone to assist me. Someone whose ability to understand complicated equations will allow me to triumph over Voss and the mirror. A human who can provide the one thing I require for my survival.
I do not need a lover, or even a friend. I have survived this long without such blessings. But I do need someone — a very special someone. A mortal with a mind to match my own.
The boy who can calculate almost as well as me.CHAPTER 2
IT WON'T BE EASY TO lure Kai Thorsen to my palace. He has a logical mind, not given to fancies. He won't be dazzled by magic alone. I spend several days, disguised by a swirling robe of snow flurries, observing Kai as he attends school or assists his father at the mill. He's a quiet, level-headed boy. Little seems to distract him, but I note his special affinity for animals. As I watch him play with a litter of pups, his face bright with delight, I realize I've discovered my lure.
Early one morning I cloak myself in furs and head for the stables. As I pass by a dark hallway, a wisp of smoke gathers into the form of a girl. Her large eyes are as black as the sockets in a skull.
"Burning," the wraith howls, "always burning." She rubs her translucent hands over her arms as if to erase the memory, but her fingers merely slide through her vaporous skin.
I pause, leaning against the icy wall of the corridor for support. I can guess her story. She must have died during her transformation from girl into Snow Queen. I know not all Voss's creations survive the awful force of his magic. I have glimpsed them amidst the wraiths — the most pitiful of all, their final agonizing memory their constant torment.
"Burning." The wraith extends her filmy hands.
"Leave me." In her ghostly face I spy my future, if I do not prevail over Voss and the mirror. "You have no power here."
Excerpted from Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil. Copyright © 2017 Vicki L. Weavil. Excerpted by permission of Snowy Wings Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The idea was good but it just didn't work for me. I realized at 35% I was trying way to hard to like the Main Character and it just wasn't happening. I am not a Math person at all and this was just so confusing about the Mirror and how they need math to put it back together. It just kind of lost me at some point. As always this book didn't work for me but I'm not saying you wont like it. Never hurts to give it a try :)
When I was a kid The Snow Queen was one of my favorite fairy tales. Now Hans Christian Andersen did not write stories that gave you warm fuzzies, he wrote stories that taught you a lesson and often the decisions made by the characters are a testament to love. I thought Vicki Weavil impressed me with Crown of Ice and her retelling of the original tale. I could tell that this was someone who loved and appreciated the original story. The Snow Queen is not a sweet person. As much as a I love Frozen, it is in true Disney fashion to change the story and keep only the original essence. I like that Thyra is cold and distant. Her heart frozen by the palace she lives in. Thyra is also a very logical person which is another reason I think she comes across as stiff and unfeeling. You see glimpses of her heart in her regrets but she often throws them off and pushes on consumed by the task at hand. Consumed by her desire to survive. Even though Thyra is almost eighteen it’s almost like she is a child as far as social interaction goes. She has lived the majority of her life with only cruel people that only need her and don’t love her. I love that Vicki use the original names for Gerda and Kai. I also like how much to my dismay she keeps Gerda’s influence in the story the same. In the original tale I loved Gerda, in this story I want her to go back to the village because I was rooting for Thyra to prevail. It was great that so much of the story is kept in tact. Yay for Sepia and I’m glad she has a strong presence. When I was a kid I loved the garden that was never touched by the winter and had spring all year round. I was so glad that was worked into this story. So as far as reworking the original tale, you can tell I loved that. I also loved the way this story is presented. I liked the new twist to it and giving The Snow Queen a different ending. That Kai isn’t just a frozen zombie in the story. I really loved this retelling. I loved that it still had the same vibe but a more updated and romantic influence. Of course I also like that love plays a major role and that romantic love is not the only important kind.
A new twist on the the Snow Queen -- When I got to the author's notes at the end, I wasn't surprised by her nod to Hans Christian Andersen. CROWN OF ICE reads like a classic fairy tale, but with lots of elements I'd not seen before or ones used in different ways. Thyra Winther must mend a magic mirror before her eighteenth birthday or she'll become a wraith. Her desperate attempts to find and place the missing pieces make her more like the evil mage who enchanted Thyra and killed her parents. Kai Thorsen and a simple village girl who loves him bring out the best and worst in Thyra as she struggles to accomplish her task. Can she save what she most loves and wants? I highly recommend CROWN OF ICE for young adult fantasy lovers, and even for younger readers.
4.5 Stars 'Crown of Ice' is a mesmerizing reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale, "The Snow Queen." The story follows Thyra Winther, who was orphaned when she was a young girl and later taken away by a sorcerer to become the Snow Queen. Thyra's beautiful, immortal, and can do magic. But there's one catch - she must finish reconstructing a special mirror before her eighteenth birthday. If she fails, she will be doomed to wander the halls of the palace as a mere wraith. Knowing her birthday is coming fast, Thyra decides she needs the help of a human who's as smart as she is. She can only come up with one name - Kai Thorsen - who lives in the village she grew up in. Thyra snags Kai into her plan to find the missing mirror pieces, only to find that there are new issues in her way - Gerda, a childhood friend of Kai's, a wolf pup who is completely devoted to her, and her growing feelings for Kai. Will Thyra be able to reassemble the mirror in time? Will she fail and be condemned to the fate of those before her? Or will she discover that her humanity and her heart are her strength - and weakness? I was enchanted by this book from the opening paragraphs. The story is told from Thyra's point of view, making it very personal and conversational in tone. By using this method, the reader gets to know Thyra on a deeper level than normal. We are able to hear her inner thoughts, fears, hopes, and emotions throughout the book. I loved Thyra as the lead character in the story because of the first person point of view that the author used as well as how incredibly detailed and descriptive everything in the book was. That amount of vivid imagery is employed in every facet of the story - from the characters, the setting, the plot, and everything in between. I easily slipped into the world that the author created and felt as if I was beside Thyra during the whole story, experiencing everything that she did. Each character was very well rounded - especially Thyra and Kai. They have distinct personalities, flaws, strengths and weaknesses - which made them quite realistic and easy to identify with. I have never read the original story of the Snow Queen, but I absolutely loved the way the author reimagined it in this book. It's full of the things you typically find in fairy tales - a handsome young man or prince who comes to rescue the heroine, the heroine herself who believes she is one thing until her eyes are opened; the quest that they must undergo - full of obstacles and revelations; and the happily ever after along with a nice moral to the story. All of these were present in the story along with interesting characters, an incredibly detailed setting, and a fast paced narrative. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning and I ended up devouring it in one sitting. Very highly recommended for fans of fantasy and fairy tale retellings. Don't miss out on this one! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Crown of Ice was a spectacular retelling of The Snow Queen. Although, the basics were similar, it contained much original ideas that I utterly enjoyed. My favorite thing in the book was definitely Thyra Winther. When she is young, she and her parents get into a blizzard. She survives, however, her mother and father are buried in the snow. Hence, she becomes an orphan and is adopted by a woman who's not treating her so very kindly. In a couple of years a mage takes her away from the village to his secluded ice castle and makes her his new Snow Queen, bestowing eternal life on her under the conditions of completing a powerful mirror. All of these tragic events shape Thyra into the cold, I could say icy, self-confident, logical girl whose every step is calculated. She's also quite brave, but in a different way than most protagonists. She had to learn to fend for herself. This is what she's been doing ever since her parents died. It's not like she had a choice. However, when she brings Kai to the palace, she starts to change. Not just because of their attraction, but because after so many years of solitary, she gets to know something else and gets to see things from a different perspective. Her character arc is vast, but she's a likable character at the beginning as well as in the end. As for the magic and world building, I have mixed feelings. I can't say it's not maximally elaborated and initially I was a huge fan of it. The wraiths, the mutated animals, the places were all very interesting. But later on, it just went overboard. Thyra had new, not fitting abilities out of nowhere in tight situations and at the end, things happened that clearly were only implemented for the suspens and happy ending. When I was looking at Crown of Ice's Goodread's page, I was surprised to see romance is not listed as one of the genres. In my view, it was one of the main threads of the story. On the other hand, I understand why it's this way. Kai and Thyra are a fair match, but their romance is somehow lacking. I didn't swoon at any point of the story, not even a little. Maybe, it's because I wasn't particularly crazy about Kai. He wasn't such a deep character, for the most part he's just working or grieving. On the whole, I did very much enjoy Crown of Ice. It was a peculiar read and I definitely recommend it to everybody.