Reviewed by Jennifer J.

Mette Ivie Harrison’s The Princess and the Snowbird begins with a unique fairy tale about the snowbird, thought to be extinct, and with it all hope for the future of animals and mankind. Told from two alternate points of view, The Princess and the Snowbird is the unlikely love story of Liva, the daughter of the hound and the bear from Harrison’s previous novel The Princess and the Bear, and Jens, his town’s outcast. Jens possesses no tehr-magic, the magic of Man which is abused and used only to take life for the pure enjoyment of it.

Liva and Jens couldn’t be more opposite from one another: Liva has been raised with loving parents, whereas Jens is cruelly abused and mistreated by his father and his peers. Convinced he can survive and find happiness in the forest, Jens leaves behind the only home he has ever known and creates a new one for himself amidst the animals. Fate brings Liva and Jens together, urging them to unite to stop the Hunter, who has set out to destroy anyone who possesses the aur-magic, the magic to communicate with animals.

Liva is stubborn and sure, like her mother the hound, and brave and strong, like her father the bear. Jens is at times weak and naive, but courageous and sure-footed when the situation is dependent on his actions. The romance between Liva and Jens is sweet, but not overpowering, and does not dominate the main plot line. Through the main characters, we feel the emotions of both animals and humans, and learn that we are not as different as we might think.

[amazonify]0061553174[/amazonify]The Princess and the Snowbird and its companion novels are unlike any other Young Adult fiction. They are beautifully written with deep purpose, compelling characters, and a message readers will be left pondering for some time after. This third novel in the series is darker and more tragic than its predecessors, hauntingly beautiful and complex. I was reintroduced to characters I grew to love in both The Princess and the Hound and The Princess and the Bear, and reminded of the fragility of life and each of our great purposes in the circle of life.

The Princess and the Snowbird can be read without too much confusion as a stand-alone, but to understand and embrace fully the world of these characters and the motives behind the humans, it’s best to read them in the order they were published.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.