Lexa Hillyer’s Frozen Beauty is marketed with references to poetic and lyrical prose. As it tells the tale of two sisters in alternating timelines as the truth of their eldest sister’s secrets and eventual death is slowly revealed, I’d say this description is decently accurate. Readers follow the youngest, Lilly, in the past as she navigates through her life and the realization that Kit is keeping something from everyone. Then they follow the middle sister, Tessa, as she struggles through how to find the truth of what lead to Kit’s frozen body found in the back of the boy next door, Boyd’s truck.
I ended Frozen Beauty with mixed feelings.
A very subtle retelling of Sleeping Beauty, this novel presents a genuinely interesting tale about the relationship between three sisters. Lilly and Tessa tell their separate stories, one girl in the past and the other in the present, slowly revealing how their lives intertwine with the boy next door, the main suspect in their elder sister’s death.
Though beautiful on occasion, I found the so described lyrical prose distracting at times. With many sentences impossibly long–one even taking place of an entire lengthy paragraph!–I found myself, on several occasions, needing to reread it.
I loved Lilly the most. In so many ways, her storytelling and personality really pulled the novel along. She was, wonderfully, a force of nature herself. I found Tessa’s chapters lacking in their ability to build and keep my interest. And this, I think, is where Hillyer struggled most. As Tessa’s tale slowly came to a close it quickly became the part of the story I disliked most. The way in which the truth behind Kit’s death was revealed was, frankly, awful.
Deus ex machina.
The resolution to the mystery was both too obvious and too vague. I was easily able to ascertain the who behind everything. In other instances, certain characters were revealed too late in the story, playing major roles later on when they were barely introduced enough to recall in the beginning. I have found myself, generally, to be quite adept at solving what is meant to be a mystery and therefore a shock within films and novels, so neither of these things really bothered me. That said, I think it was more obvious than most.
The worst thing, however, by far about this novel was the fact that the end came alongside an irritating deus ex machina by way of chimerism and a dream. It was too convenient and, to me, too unrealistic.
Overall, though, I did enjoy this book.
Frozen Beauty is by no means a bad novel. It touches on some important messages and does manage to be what it set out to be: a depiction of sisterhood. The characters were each superbly developed and written, so much to the point that I am certain the main reason I do kind of love it is because of the depth of the characters themselves. Could the end have used some work? Yeah.
But all in all? I liked it.
I was sent an advanced reader copy of this book; I was not asked to review.