“What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?”
I did it again! A new shiny twisted tale came out and I let it jump to the top of my TBR pile! I’m weak!
Let It Go is the latest instalment in the twisted tale’s series and explores how Anna and Elsa’s story would play out if a magical accident caused the two sisters to be cursed.
As always, Jen Calonita writes this very well: drip feeding us information by opening the novel on eighteen-year-old Elsa shadowing her parents’ royal duties and preparing to become a leader when she comes of age.
It is quite refreshing for the reader to meet the King and Queen of Arendelle: they didn’t have much depth in the movie but Jen Calonita presents an intimidating yet loving King with his kind and gentle Queen. They are both, however, marred by a melancholy which even Elsa cannot fathom; the Queen in particular has an air of sadness around her and has a habit of taking mysterious day trips, always alone.
Elsa is an adoring daughter and will clearly be a benevolent Queen as she follows in her father’s footsteps. She is, however, lonely and has always pined for someone of her own age for company: she has always wished for a sister. It isn’t until Elsa overhears an argument between her parents that she begins to question the life around her.
Unlike other books in the twisted tale’s franchise we aren’t introduced to any new characters apart from the King and Queen. There are a few servants who have minor roles but no one who has a real impact upon the story. Instead, Let It Go focuses on all the characters we already love: I really liked how Jen Calonita included everybody, even the irritating Duke of Weselton. True to form though, the characters don’t meet quite as they did in the movie. Hans and Olaf meet Elsa first whereas Anna and Kristoff are acquaintances in Anna’s “cursed” life. In truth I preferred Anna and Kristoff’s relationship in this novel as it seemed more realistic, with Kristoff being irritated by Anna’s stubbornness and incessant chatter.
Like I mentioned, Calonita isn’t forthcoming with information regarding the curse and it is only with the help of a certain troll that we learn the details of how Elsa and Anna were parted as well as the severity of the curse that has been placed upon them: if they come too close to each other Elsa’s powers will freeze Anna.
I did appreciate how Calonita didn’t just settle for a storyline that the girls had to be kept apart to avoid further accidents and the impossible, heat-wrenching decision for their parents is beautifully written. I also liked how the curse came about due to the sheer love between the sisters and specifically, Elsa’s defiance to lose their special bond and friendship.
In fact, I loved how the twist is all about the sister’s love for each other: the red herring of true love’s kiss is not even considered.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the book didn’t continue all the way through to the conclusion as the second half seemed to mirror the film a lot. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved the little references to the film all the way through the book, as I do with all the twisted tales. However, towards the end Let It Go felt like it was just writing out the movie, with a few characters in different locations. For this reason, I did feel the ending was a little lacklustre.
Overall Let It Go is an enjoyable, easy read. Anna’s flashbacks provide an insight into the childhood of the princesses that we don’t get in the film and my favourite, Olaf, plays a more important role than that of dismembered tour guide. For me, the second half of the book was not as gripping and more of a retelling of the film but it is still a good addition to the twisted tale franchise.