Modern Reader

"Never trust anyone who has not

brought a book with them"

-Lemony Snicket

The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman

Evident by the amount of time it took for me to complete this book, The Ice Queen was hardly readable. The key to keeping a reader is ensuring that the general audience can relate and sympathize with the protagonist. The nameless woman who makes a wish at the age of eight years old was irreparably altered, turned to metaphorical ice since being suddenly deprived of emotional depth when her dark wish actually came true.


The story is told in first person, and reading each chapter was a long slog. The protagonist's voice is dry, pessimistic, and incredibly "doom and gloom." I had expected as much after reading the synopsis before I cracked the book open, assuming once she met the mysterious fiery Lazarus her personality would suddenly bloom and lighten (much like Hoffman's March Murray after reuniting with Hollis in Here on Earth, which I loved).


This was not the case. Instead she plummeted deeper into tedious quintessential comparisons between passionate love affairs and fire's ability to consume or melt ice. Except the "passionate" love affair with the eternally warm-skinned Lazarus does very little to melt the protagonist's stony heart. It just makes her even more self-involved and endlessly self-deprecating.


Perhaps Hoffman's purpose was to perfect the character everyone loves to hate, nevertheless I slipped this book back on my shelf, paused, and was not surprised to discover that I still did not feel even the slightest twinge of love for it.