Sorry for the short review. I finished this the other day. I found it to be a good story. I do have to say though that I don't see me reading the next book in this series. I thought the book had a lot of flow issues throughout. And I still don't get the big deal with the "Bear" in this story since his power seemed to be really lame to me. I was hoping for another retelling like we got with The Lunar Chronicles series, but I just wasn't feeling this one very much.
There is a fairy-tale told at the beginning of the book that the book we are reading follows in certain aspects. The character we follow for most of this story is Vasilisa. Though before the book focuses on her entirely it flits around focusing on her nursemaid, her father, her brothers, and then eventually her stepmother along with other characters.
I don't know if the book would have been stronger for me if this was told in Vasilisa's first person point of view. Maybe. I was intrigued by her character and the backstory to her mother's family. The book leaves some things unanswered (hence another book). I was able to put bits and pieces together though so you can guess at her mother's family background.
The writing was okay. I think that the author really needs another way to describe winter though. It gets old reading about how something felt or looked like winter sunshine. Or the colors of someone's eyes. At one point I think I read several paragraphs which had some character or another noting that Vasilisa was not attractive, but they could not stop staring at her for whatever reason.
The flow is what hung me up the most in this book. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen for most of this book. It takes a while for the action to get moving. And then even that drags some.
The ending leaves things on a cliffhanger (my least favorite literary device ever) so maybe that influenced my overall feelings toward this book.