Scribes’ Hall: The Book of Snow and Silence (5 Stars)

Welcome to my first book review!

I’m calling this section ‘Scribes’ Hall’, after the library in my book The Life-Giver, due out March 2022. You can preorder it here!

I’ve just finished reading The Book of Snow and Silence by Zoë Marriott and I absolutely loved it. It feels fitting that the first book I review on my blog is by Zoë Marriott, seeing as she’s one of the most influential authors of my teenage years. Her second book Daughter of the Flames is one of the books that convinced me I wanted to be an author.

Her newest book, The Book of Snow and Silence, is just gorgeous. A feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid, but turned queer and wlw, with disability rep which I particularly enjoyed and a strong narrative voice that I always expect when I pick up one of Zoë Marriott’s books. The characters gripped me straight away, Theoai in particular, and I know she’s going to stay with me for a long time after I close the pages of the book.

A photo of the Cover of the Book of Snow and silence. It is dark blue with lighter blue writing and white frost-like images

The setting was another astonishing thing about this book. Set in an icy kingdom, with polar bears and ships and a really well thought out magic system that hooked me from the start, it was easy to imagine where the scenes took place (and I say this as someone with very little visual imagination). The descriptions never felt heavy or unnecessary, but always added something to the atmosphere.

The characters developed really well, and while I guessed at some of the twists, others really surprised me. I was gripped almost as soon as I picked the book up, and once I hit the half-way point I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing the whole thing in one day. The prose is easy to read and feels familiar, like listening to a friend tell a story, and even my fatigued brain had no problem bringing these characters to life.

It was such a refreshing breath of fresh air to see good chronic illness/disability rep as well. I will always give bonus points for disability, especially in a fantasy setting, and the way this was done was so thoughtful and added real meaning to the story. Ticked all the boxes for me.

The romance was beautifully done as well, in an enemies-to-lovers style, which is also one of my favourite tropes. It never felt forced either, but rather a natural progression of the characters’ development. I was deeply invested in both of them by the ending, which left me heartbroken, only to stitch my heart back together again in the epilogue.

All in all, this book is an easy 5 out of 5 stars for me. I’m a long-time fan of Zoë Marriott’s work, and this book has only cemented further why she is one of my all-time favourite authors. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good fantasy world with strong, memorable characters.