Review: Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake


The Bear and the Nightingale meets Frostblood in this lushly romantic and intensely imaginative historical fantasy from the author of Beyond a Darkened Shore!

When Katya loses control of her power to freeze, her villagers banish her to the palace of the terrifying Prince Sasha in Kiev. Expecting punishment, she is surprised to find instead that Sasha is just like her-with the ability to summon fire. Sasha offers Katya friendship and the chance to embrace her power rather than fear it.

But outside the walls of Kiev, Sasha’s enemies are organizing an army of people bent on taking over the entire world.

Together, Katya’s and Sasha’s powers are a fearsome weapon. But as their enemies draw nearer, will fire and frost be enough to save the world? Or will Katya and Sasha lose everything they hold dear?

Katya has a power unlike anything the region of Kiev or anywhere else has seen. Men and women fear her for the destruction she’s capable of. When her power causes catastrophic destruction, Katya is captured and told she is to face her crimes before the Prince of Kiev. He is rumoured to be cruel and merciless, but even scarier, he’s rumoured to be collecting people with exceptional abilities like Katya. For what? Katya finds herself caught in the middle of conflict, and she’s perhaps the only one powerful enough who can help save the Kingdom of Kiev.

This, in my opinion, is near enough everything a YA fantasy book encompasses. There’s mystery, romance, magic and adventure. It delivers an interesting story with likeable characters and steady plot development.

I had a little issue getting into it at the beginning perhaps at about 20%. I feel a bit silly saying this in a review, but I was really unwell at the time. So I don’t know if it was me or the book, but if anyone else has this issue, please keep going! That limp does pass, if it isn’t just me – the story is enjoyable and adventurous.

Katya was easy to empathise with as she was a scared young girl who experienced such sadness. We follow her on her journey to discover who she really is, along the other characters on their journey to save the kingdom. I liked the two plots running alongside each other, working toward the end, where they combine to create a thrilling climax.

The other characters were likeable; Prince Vladimir a.k.a Sasha was charming. I hate how typical that sounds, using the word charming, but he really was. The romance was corny in the best of ways, which I have personally found to be the norm in a lot of YA fiction. My favourite character was Elation; it’s easy to love this character because of their extraordinary make-up.

Lastly, this is the kind of story with likeable predictability. I found plot twists easy to foresee, but it only adds to the fun of the story and the reader’s enjoyment. Honestly, this book was such a journey. There was so much going on with the plot, it made the pace constantly flow on. I read this over 3 days and I’m rating it 4 stars, as it is a fantastic YA read with good storytelling, that delivers what the average YA reader would want from a fantasy novel. Perfect for fans of Disney’s Frozen if you want some wintry magic fun.


Buy It Now

Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake
Published May 2019
Genre: young adult, fantasy






*Thank you kindly to Edelweiss and the publishers for providing me with an e-copy, in exchange for this honest review.

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