Evangeline searches for her long-lost identical twin in a wintry fantasy world.
Because 12-year-old Evangeline and her single mother are constantly on the move, she never has a chance to make friends. But wherever they go, an inexplicable snow and emptiness seem to follow the girl. When the word “Help” appears in a frosty message in her mirror from her unknown identical twin sister, Evangeline accidentally discovers that the reflecting glass is a passageway to a medieval-style village in the Winter Kingdom. Here, she meets talking animals, ice trolls, and other magical creatures and learns that her sister, Princess Desdemona, has vanished and that their father, King Vair, needs the twins together—but not alive—to achieve immortality. Passing as Desdemona, Evangeline undertakes a quest to find her sister before the king can find and kill them both. Although Rule employs many predictable fantasy tropes, the quick-paced story packs plenty of details and red herrings to keep middle-grade readers, particularly Frozen fans, guessing Evangeline’s outcome. And while one of the animal creatures, an arana or spider-girl named Hortense, seems like an odd choice in a snowy setting, Hortense’s backstory and interactions with Evangeline become an integral part of the plot. Most important, in the process of searching for her sister, Evangeline finds her own strengths and friendship at last.
This blend of princess power, traditional fantasy, and bountiful snow is a win-win(ter) mix. (Fantasy. 8-12)