The Snow Queen

Eileen Kernaghan's The Snow Queen (Thistledown Press 2000) won the 2001 Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Award, the Aurora, for best long-form work in English.

Read Revisiting the Snow Queen, an interview by Casey Wolf

The Snow Queen is available from and other major online bookstores,, White Dwarf Books, Banyen Books, Vancouver Kidsbooks, and other independent Canadian bookstores; and from the publisher, Thistledown Press.


"The Hans Christian Andersen story is mixed with elements from the Kalevala and Saami shamanism in this intelligent, magical young adult fantasy about a Danish girl who ventures into the far north to rescue the boy she loves." (Carolyn Cushman, Locus).

"In her version of The Snow Queen, Eileen Kernaghan takes us to another time and to a place few of us will ever visit: the far northern reaches of Scandinavia, where the glacial ice is blue, and the northern lights color the sky in rainbow hues and the cold is, for many of us, almost unimaginable... it held me thoroughly spellbound." (Denise Dumars,

"This lovely, slim, small press volume (handsomely packaged with classic cover art by Charles Robinson) ... is a deceptively gentle tale, lyrically written by a long underrated Canadian fantasist." (Terri Windling,

"Eileen Kernaghan's The Snow Queen is a richly expressed and poignant story.... Kernaghan deftly subverts the traditional female roles in fairy tales...." (Greg Bauder, Tickled by Thunder).


"Snowdrifts rose to the windows of the Snow-Queen's palace. The tall arched panes glittered with a wintry, ice-blue light. The great doors of crystal and silver stood ajar, unguarded; a powdering of snow filmed the milk-white marble tiles of the courtyard within.

No hearthfires burned in those vast, chill rooms -- only the cold and eerie flames of the aurora borealis, blazing down through crystal skylights, flickering across the icy floors. They could hear the faint glassy tinkle of chandeliers, the whistling of the wind down endless, empty halls. There was a kind of music, too -- high, keening, crystalline notes endlessly, piercingly sustained, like tones struck on a goblet's rim. The sound was like a knifeblade in the base of Gerda's skull. She clapped her hands over her ears to shut it out.

Nothing had prepared Gerda for a palace so magnificent --- and so utterly devoid of warmth and comfort. No one human could live in this place, she thought. And she shuddered at a sudden chilling intimation: living here, what might Kai have become

Tears of weakness, exhaustion, desolation, leaked from her eyes, and froze into beads of crystal on her cheeks. The cold had crept into her muscles and bones; had wrapped itself round her heart."