It’s an odd enough title for a book, but it certainly fits. It’s apparently based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen (I’m completely unknowledgeable about that), though my thoughts ran to Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, which is based off of a Norwegian folk tale. Makes me wonder if that’s where HCA got his ideas (not that they are the same story at all)….

At any rate, the writing is, as ever with T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon), witty and charming, and includes a strong cast of animal characters:

The raven fluffed its beard. “I am the Sound of Mouse Bones Crunching Under the Hooves of God.”
Gerta blinked a few times. “That’s…quite a name.”
“I made it myself,” said the raven preening. “I stole the very shiniest words and hoarded them up until they made something worth having.”

(Which tells you about the Raven part of the title; the Reindeer comes in much later, and from an unexpected direction.)

Gerta goes on quite a journey. As usual, the first steps are faltering, and she carries a lot of guilt for having managed to lose seven months of her life (I imagine we might all do well to lose so little), but even lost, it helps her, and powers much of the rest of the story (in a somewhat more literal way than it may sound). And like all well-done stories, this is because that beginning misadventure fits in with everything else, and there’d be quite a hole left without it.

All the way through, there’s actually a fair amount of self-growth and introspection, and it should certainly be on YA reading lists for that and a number of other topics that slide in at the edges. The end is satisfying, and says just what it needs to say… though I still wish it had carried through to Gerta talking to her grandmother, just because she’s such a wonderful character.