I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Series: Fairytale League, #1
Length: 174 pages
Reviewing eARC from Author
Fairytales with a twist! Snow has successfully avoided her past for years … until now. With an evil queen bent on her destruction and a hunter bent on her seduction, she has no choice but to run. Who will find her first? S.E. Babin presents The Hunt for Snow, Book 1 of her exciting, new fantasy series, Fairytale League.
Every ten years a convention is held in a neutral location where people from all the realms come together and reunite. This is no ordinary conference, though, because everyone who shows up holds a place of honor in the legends of old. But there’s one person who doesn’t care that Earth is neutral territory. The Evil Queen, Naomi, is out to settle a score, and she’s brought along one of her most talented henchman to teach the one who got away a harsh lesson.
Snow’s past is shrouded in mystery. Mild cryptozoologist by day, private investigator by night, Snow is dead set on one thing — staying far away from the Huntsman who haunts her dreams. When she shows up to the conference with her two best friends in tow, things start going awry right away. Mere minutes after arriving, they find themselves thrust back into the world they’ve tried so hard to avoid. Now, along with the help of her friends, Snow is struggling to stay one step ahead of the queen who wants to destroy her — and the Huntsman who wants to possess her at all costs.
The hunt for Snow is on. But who will find her first?
I’d never fought a troll before—never had to, actually. What I did know about them was minimal. Magic wasn’t all that effective on them. Neither was fire or lightning. Ice slowed them down a little bit, but ice melted. Brute force was going to be necessary. We had about two hundred villagers on our side—almost every single one inexperienced. Five trolls could decimate a village and every single person in it.
“All right, everyone grab something you can defend yourself with. Anything. Chairs, paintings, knives, someone you hate. Kidding. If they’re able to get in here, it wouldn’t necessary be a bad thing. That means we can get out.” The villagers looked scared but determined. In a mad scramble, people were picking up anything in the vicinity, and some were pulling scabbards out and drawing their swords. Okay, then. There were lots more armed people than I expected. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling deep inside.
I drew both my Sig and my backup gun and watched the inevitable. When the trolls reached us, they didn’t waste any time. Blows rained down on the building, making me cringe, but also making me hopeful they’d be able to break us out of here. “Hold,” I shouted to everyone.
Maleficent came up beside me. “As long as they keep trying to get in here, I can use my magic to weaken the threads of Naomi’s. I’m still not sure what she did, but even the strongest sorcery can’t withstand an onslaught of brute force like that.” She studied the trolls outside. “It depends on how bad they want us. If they keep it up, I might be able to break the bindings. So,” she grinned brilliantly at me. “Do you what you do best. Antagonize them.”
The Hunt For Snow by S.E. Babin is a reimagining of the classic fairytale Snow White. Snow escaped from the Enchanted Forest ten years ago and has made a life for herself in Mystic Falls on Earth. She’s a professor in cryptozoology and a private investigator on the side, living with her two friends Belle and Cyndi. Everything is fine or at least she thinks it is until she gets an invitation to attend a conference from the Enchanted Forest. Suddenly she finds herself back where she was ten years ago, trying to survive the wrath of her step mother the evil queen Naomi and her Huntsman Max. Can Snow beat the queen and take back her kingdom?
Alright I’m going to be brutally honest for a few minutes. There were parts of this book I really disliked and parts that I loved. I hate that!! It makes it so hard to write the review 😕 So let’s take a minute to break down what I liked and disliked…
What I Liked
I really enjoyed the concept and plot behind the story. Snow escaped Max (because he let her) ten years prior and has lived a quiet life on Earth ever since. While there she’s trained herself in battle, studied the mythical beings of earth, and basically prepared herself for if she ever had to face the huntsman again. The conference that brings her back to her old life is interesting in concept and brought a few plot twists as Snow comes face to face with the people she left at the hands of her stepmother.
The book is an interesting play on urban fantasy as it brings the fairytale characters to our world and in our setting, trying to understand technology and TV. In fact, I love the author’s use of pop culture references, such as one instance with the slap bet from HIMYM and a Doctor Who reference.
Max….enough said 😉
What I Disliked
Unfortunately for me, there were more things I disliked than liked in this book. First the characters. Snow could have been a really strong heroine, however some of her characteristics with that of her friends Cyndi and Belle gave me the impression of a love-scorned teen instead of a woman who is a college professor. I found not just Snow, but all of the characters a little immature. Maybe it’s just me, but if I had an evil stepmother trying to kill me and a kingdom to save having the hots for some guy would not be on my mind.
Then there was Naomi, the evil queen/stepmother. Basically she didn’t seem that evil to me. She wasn’t scary in the slightest. In fact I felt like she was the mean girl in high school who no matter how much she wanted to be the popular one she couldn’t so she made Snow’s life hell. I mean yeah she was trying to kill Snow, but really she was just a jealous woman acting like a teenager.
The pop culture references…while I enjoyed these I also found them off-putting. Here are these characters who haven’t lived on earth for very long making references that in reality they wouldn’t know. Also using our religion to curse…would the character even know what they were saying and wouldn’t it make more sense to use what is used in the Enchanted Forest? I don’t know I just found it distracting.
Max and Snow….I didn’t understand this relationship. Max was under a compulsion by the Queen to kill Snow. Somehow he breaks the compulsion to allow Snow to escape the first time. But there is no indication that they knew each other. Yet somehow he breaks this really powerful spell to save a girl because of a pretty face. Then there’s their first night together and basically every encounter they have that is very lust-filled. I just didn’t buy it.
Overall the book was just okay for me. In fact if I’m staying honest with you, I had a hard time reading it. The characters’ immaturity, the lack of actual romance, and the various pop culture references were distracting and a little on the annoying side. Also for an urban fantasy, there was an amazing lack of fantasy until a good half way through the book. Now in saying all of this, the author did a good job of laying the foundation for the series as a whole. I expect that there will be more fantasy and more from all the characters as the series progresses. If you enjoy contemporary, new adult fiction with an urban fantasy flare, then I believe you will enjoy the book. Just keep in mind that it is a very loose interpretation of the classic Snow White story.
Meet the Author
Lillian: Welcome S.E.! Thank you so much for stopping by. Tell me a little about yourself.
S.E.: I am a mom, wife, and a veteran. When I’m not writing, I’m either reading or baking.
Lillian: What inspired you to become a writer?
S.E.: I’ve always been a writer. I started writing when I was quite young, and finished my first “novel” when I was in high school. It was horrid, so I hesitate to actually call it a novel.
Lillian: Was there an author that inspired you?
S.E.: So, so many. Stephen King (I read him way too young. I’m convinced he’s the reason for my insane fear of clowns), Johanna Lindsey, Ray Bradbury and tons of others.
Lillian: The Hunt For Snow is a unique spin on the old fairytale. Where do you get your ideas?
S.E: In the shower when I can finally hear myself think. Also from conversations I happen to stumble into. People talk about crazy things in public. It boggles my mind. One time I was at a bar and I overheard this young lady say, “You know, going to jail is totally on my bucket list!”
Lillian: 😆 Does anything come from real-life or is it all imagination?
S.E.: Occasionally I will sprinkle in some real-life dialogue. I don’t want to give my secrets away 😉 Every single book I write either has some true dialogue or event that actually has happened to me.
Lillian: One of my favorite parts of the book is when Belle is filling Snow in on Robin’s fight with Naomi. It cracks me up! What was your favorite scene to write?
S.E.: I love the scene when Snow and Robin are sitting in the bar and she’s angry about Cinderella switching her wardrobe out and replacing it with tons of frilly numbers.
Lillian: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there anything you would change?
S.E.: I would probably have held out a little longer to publish my Aphrodite series.
Lillian: I personally would like more of Belle’s story. Is there a character or theme you would like to revisit?
S.E: I still need to get revenge on Cinderella for the wardrobe stunt. That one will be fun.
Lillian: What are you working on now?
S.E.: I’m working on the second Snow book, a paranormal cozy and a time travel book.
Lillian: Having your work out there it inevitably brings criticism. What has been the hardest/best for you?
S.E.: I entered into a contest and received some incredibly snarky, unprofessional feedback. However, that novel ended up getting published before the contest was even over. So that was pretty awesome karmic payback 😀 The best was when I finaled in the American Idol contest at the Romantic Times Convention and an agent requested the manuscript and told me I had an “outstanding voice.” That’s always what you want to hear because voice cannot be taught. It was a good day.
Lillian: Any advice for aspiring writers out there?
S.E.: Keep writing. You have time to write if you want it bad enough. Making excuses doesn’t make dreams come true. Don’t give up. Even when someone tells you that you aren’t good enough. What do they know anyway?
Lillian: Is there anything you would like to share with your fans?
S.E.: You people are amazeballs, and if I ever see you I’d smother you with awkward wet, slobbery kisses.
Lillian: Now for some fun questions….favorite color?
Lillian: Favorite movie?
S.E.: Love, Actually
Lillian: Favorite TV show?
S.E.: Oh man. I have more than one. Supernatural, Doctor Who, The Mysteries of Laura and The Big Bang Theory
Lillian: Favorite place to write?
S.E.: Either the coffee shop or on my couch.
Lillian: If you had to choose just one book, what would it be and why?
S.E.: Outlander. It’s not my favorite book, but it’s the one I remember the most.
Lillian: Last question and possibly the most important 😉 What brand of cereal best describes you and why?
S.E.: Oh’s. That cereal is both complicated and delicious.