In The Snow Queen series, we meet Rakel, Princess of Verglas, exiled from her family because of her magic. She learns that, during her exile, her country has been overrun and overtaken by magic wielding invaders. If they didn't intend to crush all non-magic users, she might have joined them. Instead, she leads a resistance to retake control of Verglas.
This is a two-part series, and one book cannot be read without the other. Heart of Ice tells the first half of the story, and Sacrifice finishes it. I cannot recommend these books enough, and there's one main reason why. These books are magical. The story is told from the perspective of powerful magic users, and it is so well told that I almost feel as if I should be able to reach out a hand and expect snowflakes to burst forth. There is no such thing as magic, and people can't really call snowstorms into existence, but from the way this story is told, it feels like the author has extensive experience doing just that.
The Snow Queen series may be based on the same story from which Elsa is derived, but it takes an entirely different twist on it. And thank goodness. I understand Disney's take, but I much prefer this one. Rakel has already mastered her powers, and she has a worthy and daunting cause. Her people rely on her because, without her, there is no rebellion. Without her, they have no chance. And she lives up to the challenge.
Anyone over the age of probably eight who loves adventure and romance and good triumphing over evil would probably enjoy this book. Romance kind of takes a backseat, but it's there. This is also a fantasy book. Obviously.
Here's what I like: this story starts after the bad guys have already won. There is one village they haven't overtaken, and that's because it's at the top of a mountain. They're about to remedy that, and because of their brutality, the one person capable of heading a successful rebellion is roused against them. This is beautiful writing. I already called the story magical, and it is. You can feel the magic rushing through Rakel, flowing and fighting as she calls it. So often battle scenes are downplayed or rolled over because they're hard to write. Shea tackles them head-on and sets her readers in a middle of the battlefield as the most powerful magic user in the world. You fight alongside her and feel her magic flowing through you. I love it.