Book Review: THE WAY PAST WINTER by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Girl's featureless face with an orange fur cape, and the title: THE WAY PAST WINTER across it
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: standalone


Cover for THE WAY PAST WINTER: A girl without a face in a white dress decorated with snowflakes, a bear, a bird and the title

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men.

But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them.

Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back with the help of a mage-boy, Rune – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This is a very cute, extremely magical read, but it ultimately failed to capture my attention.

The world is stunning. There is a wonderful sense of snow and log fires and cinnamon from the setting. You can see the icicles hanging from branches, feel the wind’s sharp bite on your cheeks and taste the flakes melting on your tongue. It’s gorgeously written, with such beautiful prose. It was like stepping into a winter myth.

I’d definitely recommend it’s read around Christmas, rather than in early October. Perhaps if I’d read it “in season” I might have enjoyed it more?

I know that, being an adult, I’m not the target market, so no doubt that was part of why I kept wanting to do something, or pick up another book. It’s a very short read, 200 pages, but it took me several days. The other part, I think, was that I struggled to connect with the characters.

I didn’t immediately latch onto them, or really like them for the entire book. They were nice enough, and I didn’t dislike them. They just… were. Nothing about them made me want them to succeed. I was watching their adventures without any real feeling. The exception was Pipa, who is a little bunny of adorableness.

At no point did they feel in danger. I always knew they’d find a way out of the predicament, which sucked the tension even further. I felt like they – and me – we skiing along in the sleigh with only minor inconveniences breaking up the ride.

Read my reviews of other books by Kiran Millwood Hargrave:

Young Adult:




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