Merry Christmas to all! And, to all a good fright…
The Quarrel of Sword and Bone was a death sentence for anyone who stepped into the arena with the deranged Queen, whose soul had crisped to frost in an age long since past.
What if St. Nicholas was really a young, mad trickster and you had the one thing he wanted? What if the only person who agreed to protect you from him had a dark past of letting those he’s meant to protect die? What if one day you’re walking in the city and suddenly you can see a whole other world tucked into the cracks of your own?
Sixteen-year-old Helen Bell understood tragedy better than most kids growing up—she knew what it was like to wear clothes from donation bins and be mocked by the beautiful girls in school. She thought these brutal experiences made her ready for anything. But, she wasn’t ready for this. After an eccentric girl opens Helen’s eyes to let her see the realm of winter—a world with intersects tucked carefully into the cracks of our own, where monarchs have risen and fallen, it’s forbidden to mention the name of the dead king of winter, and the currency is gold rings—Helen comes to realize the downtown confrontation was more significant than what the eccentric girl let on.
When Helen receives a summons from the Crimson Court to enter into the Quarrel of Sword and Bone, a traditional duel performed before 1,000 witnesses that leaves only one survivor, she’s forced to finally pay attention to the boy who’s been following her around with a warning on his tongue.
Book 1 of The Winter Souls series
With an underlying Christian message of hope, the Winter Souls series blends action and Christmas tradition, bringing the old forgotten tales of the season to life with new and grittier versions of famous characters out of old holiday legends, such as St. Nicholas, the Snow Queen, and the Nutcracker.
Sixteen-year-old Helen has led a normal life of sibling fights, hand-me-down clothes, and feeling ignored at her school. Then one day a stranger gives her a mysterious orb that lets her perceive creatures and other things no one else can see. Helen and her new guardian must work together to follow ancient tradition, exposing a dark secret and sharing the truth of Elowin. Jennifer Kropf’s debut novel A Soul as Cold as Frost creates a lyrical adventure whose winter wonderland intersects our world, trimmed with references to biblical and church history.
Best for: Young-adult fans of portal fantasy and Christmas-inspired stories.
Discern: Fantasy violence and emotional trauma from battle participation.