The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison
"She is the headstrong daughter of the hound and the bear, heir to all her royal parents' magic and able to transform at will into any animal she wishes.
He is an outcast, a boy without magic, determined to make his way in the forest beholden to no one.
Though Liva and Jens are as different as night and day, from the time their paths first cross they are irresistibly drawn to one another. Each wrestles with demons: Liva with the responsibility that comes with the vast magic she's inherited, Jens with the haunting memories he's left behind. Separately, they keep a lookout for each other and for the immense snowbird whose appearances signify a dark event on the horizon.
When a terrible threat surfaces, Liva and Jens set out in an attempt to protect all they hold dear. Much is at stake—for while their failure could spell an end to all magic, their success could bring them together at last." (summary from publisher's website)
I have to admit that The Princess and the Snowbird was my least favorite of Harrison’s princess trilogy. As always I loved the author’s distinct, crisp prose, and how the story feels so much like a fairy tale. I also really like how her magic system is so connected to nature and animals. I still think this is a great little set of books that I would recommend to all those, who love fairy tales. I think my problem with the book was that it felt too much like the other two. One of the fun things about this trilogy is that the love stories are all unique, and have unexpected twists. But I felt like Liva and Jens’s love story wasn’t as exciting or original as the other two love stories.
Then there was the fact that I felt like the ending was a deus ex machina, and some of my questions weren’t answered. There is a stone in the book that leeches magic away from people, and it became clear that it would have to be destroyed in order for magic to survive. The book never shows us where this rock came from, how much of it there was, and how it could be destroyed. There are a couple of vague hints as to what happened, but they never really answered the above three questions.
I just sort of have to assume what I think happened really occurred, but I’m not really sure that I’m right about my assumptions. So, the lack of clarity on this plot point kind of annoyed me. The villain is really powerful and evil in this book, and I think part of the reason I didn’t like the story was because he was defeated too easily, and I wasn’t really convinced that the main characters could take him out. As a result of the villains wickedness this book is a bit more dark and sad than the first two also. I have to admit the negative view of human nature in this book sort of made me squirm a few times. I didn’t really like it.
The Princess and the Snowbird was still a pretty good read like the first two in the series with a magical fairy tale feel, and a gentle romance story, but the ending left me feeling a little bit let down. Perhaps, I built up my expectations too high, but plot line of The Princess and the Snowbird seemed weak in comparison to the other two books.