I wasn’t sure how to rate this and eventually settled on 3 stars because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the writing—It’s clear and easy to read (middle grade-ish since, well, it’s Frozen in book form, but not immature)—and the plot and characters are the same as they are in the movie, so, while I may not love everything about that, that’s more a gripe with the movie than this book.
My issue was that this didn’t feel genuine. I know there’s a lot of Hans hate, but I actually love him because yeah, he’s a terrible person, but he’s an interesting character. That’s why I was so excited to learn his backstory and see things through his POV. And I did learn a few things that really made me empathize with him, like this, when his brothers threw bread at him during dinner:
That could have gone a lot worse, he thought. At least they had thrown bread, not glassware, this time.
But this book disappointed me because it felt like Hans’s backstory and the explanations for events that took place during the film were just concocted after the fact based on the most popular fan theories rather than what the creators originally intended. Of course I have no way of knowing this, but that’s how it felt. Even the explanation for why Hans did the whole “if only there were someone out there who loved you thing” didn’t make sense because, while this book had him scheming to get the throne the entire time and definitely made him out to be selfish and willing to manipulate to get the attention he so desired, his thoughts were still not cruel, he didn’t actually want to hurt anyone just for the sake of hurting them, until randomly at that moment. In fact, so much about Hans’s character was inconsistent and kind of all over the place, like it was being continually altered and forced to fit into a mold. Anna’s character felt forced sometimes too, but at least it was more consistent.
I’m someone who pretty much always accepts the canon, but I can’t accept this. You can find my personal Hans headcanon here, if you’re interested! And this article, which I admittedly have no way to fact check, mentions how the original script made Hans the actual love interest and only changed him to be the villain during development.
But as I said, it’s not a badly written book, and the issues I had may not be the author’s fault. If you’re a Frozen fan, you may still enjoy it.
Fans of the movie Frozen who want more backstory and/or Hans's POV.