Over the Bridge and Through the Woods to the Palace of Ice We Go


Photo credit: Katy Abbe © 2013

Katy Abbe, Columnist

Identity: such a small word with such a large meaning. Who are you? What makes you possible? If one were to dissect you, what would they encounter? Would they find a torn and bloody heart? Will they get to stand back and watch as your inner demons crawl about your body, leaving scrapes and scars? Or maybe all they will find is an innocent soul, still untainted and bright that finds the beauty in the world. It’s important to know yourself, but sometimes knowing who you are and what you stand for is near impossible to determine. Fret not, finding one’s self is not a simple task for anyone; it tends to take a journey to find out who you are and what you’re made of.

 This is what happens to Hazel, a young girl from the novel by Anne Ursu. Breadcrumbs is based on the fairy tale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen and contains many references to other tales woven by fairies. Hazel, an adopted child, suffers her own identity issues as her best friend, Jack, is taken from her and she is left alone. Her whole life, Hazel has been an outcast, a creative child trapped in a world of math and figures. However, once she moves to a new house, she makes friends with Jack, and the two click instantly. They spend many years of their youth together, depending on one another like they were two entities in one.

 Of course, people change, and Jack changes for the worse. The poor child gets a shard of a magic mirror in his heart, and he can only see the bad in the world. Soon after, The Snow Queen, who resembles the White Witch, comes and whisks him away to her ice palace, hidden in the woods. Hazel, completely lost without Jack, decides to go after him. She makes her way through an enchanted forest filled with fairytale characters, many of which most people haven’t heard of, like a girl who wished for a pair of ballet slippers to dance in, and a woman who gave up everything just so that she may take the form of a swan.

Breadcrumbs is an enchanting novel, written just like a classic fairy tale with the good, the bad, and the ones in between. It embodies the idea that magic is everywhere and that as long as love guides our actions, we’ll be able to find it. I recommend it to anyone who is entranced by fairy tales and fiction. It’s written in a similar style as the old fairy tales and contains the same messages and theme. It is well worth the read.