First Frost


Today I’d like to take a break from my regular series of interviews and share instead a review of the novel First Frost by Liz DeJesus.

Let’s start with the back cover copy:

Fairytales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

First off, I love the idea of fairy tales being real. I like to believe that every story we tell is true somewhere, so I always enjoy a good story about two worlds. But the other, more unexpected thing that I love about this book is that it shows how frightening it would be to actually live in the world of fairy tales. Imagine, witches able to spy on you through the mirror kept on your dresser. Vengeful fairies who cursed people based on the slightest insult. Princes transformed into all manner of things, possibly right before your eyes. What would you do if you met the Big Bad Wolf?

Even ending up in a Disney version of a fairy tale would be pretty terrifying, and when you consider the parts Disney left out of its stories… The hot iron shoes they made Snow White’s stepmother wear to her wedding. The sheer pain the Little Mermaid felt whenever she moved an inch. The twisted stepsister who cut her foot in half to try and fit in Cinderella’s slipper. The world of fairy tales wasn’t a very nice place.

Bianca, accompanied by her best friend Ming, soon finds herself dealing with many of the worst aspects of fairy tales. Along the way they meet many strange people and creatures, both good and bad, and get enough adventure for a lifetime.

One of my favourite things about First Frost is the friendship between Bianca and Ming. They balance each other well and their friendship remains important throughout the entire story. I love stories that place great importance on non-romantic relationships, and Bianca’s friendship with Ming is one of the best I’ve read in a long time, both in believability and in strength.

All in all, First Frost is a great novel that uses the fairy tales we all know and love and expands upon them in a great way. I had only one complaint: I could have kept reading for another fifty pages. I quite enjoyed how First Frost gave new life to old fairy tale figures, but I still found a few of them to be particularly shallow, including the main villain. If First Frost had delved just a little bit deeper into some of these characters, it would have been better by a hundred times.

That said, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. If you’re somebody who prefers to go by ratings, I’d rate it a 3.5/5

You can purchase your copy of First Frost here.

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