Congratulations, Kaitlyn Davis. I've found my favorite Sleeping Beauty retelling (for now) – FINALLY! (Because a lot of the other retellings I've come across have been Sleeping Beauty, and I've managed to not get along with them.)
The first book in the Once Upon a Curse series is set up in a futuristic New York where two worlds merged as one in an earthquake when Jade was younger. Years later, Jade lives in a world where a queen strips all of the inhabitants' emotions away, leaving them with no emotion. When she comes across the queen's lost son, Prince Asher, the queen sets her on a mission to be captured and trusted by the prince, eventually betraying and returning him back to the queen.
There's something I really liked about Gathering Frost – something that Davis did here that wasn't done in other Sleeping Beauty retellings. I enjoyed the futuristic world Davis creates – two worlds, one of them believed to be parallel to Earth, being merged together and a queen who takes away all emotions from her people, along with the ability to control them. Somehow, throughout all of that, Davis weaves in a bit of Sleeping Beauty and make her own fairytale world as well – I really liked the addition of Jade coming across the original story while staying in the rebel camp.
There's also something about Davis' writing style that I really enjoyed, despite the fact there were a few moments where I started questioning the grammar, or there were commas where there really shouldn't have been any commas, or there were commas thrown in when the sentence would have worked so much better as two sentences. There were some parts that were just written beautifully and flowed together extremely well (read: the beauty of parallel structure).
I honestly can't say too much about the characters, particularly in Jade's case. Since her emotions have been taken away by the queen, it was only natural for Jade to be depicted as a cold, detached, statuesque character and focus mainly on her surroundings. As Jade spends more time in the rebel camp, though, she slowly starts to develop emotions and feelings, and Jade's focus seems to balance out a little with her surroundings, her past, and her newly developed emotions.
With a hint on what the sequel will probably be about, Davis doesn't actually leave us on a major cliffhanger. Instead, she seems to be conveying that Jade's and Asher's story definitely won't be ending with Gathering Frost – they're more than likely to appear in the second book, and I can't wait to see what Davis comes up with for her retelling of Beauty and the Beast.