Blog Tour/Excerpt/Giveaway: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.
Mine broke Bale.
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.
Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.
Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.
Chapter 14, pg 128-132
When I had climbed down the ladder of the cube instead of the final step leading to solid ground, my slippered feet touched down on top of the mountain.
I knew panic would seize me soon, so I allowed myself to take in the beauty of what was beneath me. I had lived most of my life in a locked room and had never seen anything like this. All of Algid stretched out in every direction. Pink, blue, and yellow trees dotted the floor of the land. Tiny houses sparkled in the distance. If I didn’t know how messed up this land really was, I could almost believe this was paradise. Somewhere down there was the King, and roaming around those trees were more Snow Lions, Tigers and Bears—oh, my.
A strange fog rolled past me. I could feel its warmth before it settled above the nearest park. I gasped when the mist began to take shape. It looked almost like a woman. A face and a body began to articulate itself. The mist became solid. And the solid became the River Witch. Not a single drop of water dripped down her skin, and she was wearing a cape that reminded me of a creepy, scaled mermaid version of Little Red Riding Hood’s. Even though she stood atop the next mountain over, her voice was in my ear as if she were right next to me. Her face was pretty. Dry, but pretty. But it was nowhere near as beautiful as the watery version. I could see why.
“Let’s not get carried away,” she said, sounding disdainful. “But if you’re so curious, come get a better look,” she dared, nodding at the space between us. It was a challenge. It was, I assumed, my next lesson.
I raised my hand and tried to create a snow bridge between my mountain and hers. But nothing happened. It was like one of those wishes that the River Witch described as worthy, only I didn’t know how to grant it. No matter how hard I tried.
“The snow is yours,” she proclaimed.
“But it doesn’t feel like mine,” I said a little too loudly.
I wasn’t sure if my voice was in her ear the way hers was in mine. My words echoed back to me, boomeraging with more confidence than they had when they left me. The distance between us seemed insurmountable, and the drop down from where I stood was a ragged, brutal, sure drop to the death.
“You have spent your whole life locked up. You have spent your whole life ignorant of your rightful power. Because of your mother. Because of your father. They restrained you. Now you can do anything, be anything, you want. Claim your gift.”
“Come to me, snow,” I whispered, this time feeling like I had already failed before I had begun. The more I thought about my confinement, the further away from controlling my powers I felt.
“You aren’t trying!” the witch snapped.
Was this lady kidding me? I was on top of a mountaintop trying not to fall off. Of course I was trying!
My eyes narrowed at the River Witch. My hands balled up reflexively. I knew what she was doing. She was trying to get a rise out of me in hopes that my anger would spark my snow. I knew the tactic from Magpie at the institute. Though Magpie’s motives were not at all noble.
The River Witch tsked twice. “Algid has waited fifteen years for you. And look at you. So very disappointed. You’re useless,” she said. And then with a quick flash of her arms, an unseen force shoved me off the mountain and down into the chasm below.
I screamed as the cold air rushed by me, burning my ears and lips and teeth.
Use your snow! The witch’s voice came from everywhere and nowhere. You can control your fate. Use it!
I let loose a string of expletives at the witch as I free-fell. She had actually done it. She had actually pushed me off a cliff as part of a lesson. I could see the rocky floor of the terrain getting closer and closer as I hurtled down to it.
I would not die like this. I felt a burning anger in my chest. I wasn’t useless. I wasn’t! I was not disappointing.
Kai’s words from the flood came back to me. You just haven’t done it yet.
I tried to whisper to the now, but the air was moving too quickly around me, so instead I closed my eyes and concentrated.
Come to me, snow. I felt the slightest shift in the atmosphere as, degree by degree, I started to feel more attuned to the cold air and space around me. Come to me, snow, I ordered again, and I noticed that all around me snow was falling. Suddenly, I wasn’t afraid. Like the witch said, I owned the snow. It belonged to me, and I could make it take me where I wanted it to.
“River Witch,” I whispered with newfound confidence.
For the briefest of seconds, I didn’t feel cold anymore. I felt warm and whole. As if the emptiness left by Bale had filled up for the first time.
I felt myself lifted up off the ground, weightless, by a wave of snow. And in a white-out blink I was suddenly standing on the mountain next to the River Witch.
She was waiting for me. Her lips curled into a smile.
“I expected you only to stop your fall,” she said, impressed. “But it could be beginners luck, so don’t get cocky.”
I smiled. I know I almost died, but I didn’t. I had done it. I had controlled my snow. Maybe it was good enough to get Bale back.
But when I asked this of the River Witch, she said, “You’re nowhere near ready. Tomorrow we begin again.”
Danielle Paige is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dorothy Must Die series, and the upcoming Stealing Snow series (Bloomsbury, 2016). In addition to writing young adult books, she works in the television industry, where she’s received a Writers Guild of America Award and was nominated for several Daytime Emmys. She is a graduate of Columbia University and currently lives in New York City.
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