Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

18780192

Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

This book was gifted to me by the author, David Meredith, in exchange for an honest review.

I wavered back and forth between three and four stars. I would typically then just give it 3.5 Stars and call it good, but that did not quite feel right either because of the plot itself. I loved the idea of Snow White as an aging queen and what comes after the 'happily ever after'. So, four stars.

I know what some must be thinking - ANOTHER fiction novel?! Who is this person that has taken over Sarah's blog?! I briefly considered turning this one down for fear of the 'romance' aspect - that genre is simply not for me. What kept me interested however, was the story itself. Now, we are a Disney house here so that is the only version I know. I have never read the Brothers Grimm version, though I know their tales were much darker and even more violent. So, as long as you go into this story remembering that, you would be fine. Due to my Disney-love, I am naturally highly intrigued by stories that carry on where the originals left off.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Here we find Snow White as an adult and her daughter is about to be married. Yet Snow White finds no joy in the occasion, or any occasion for the last year, as her husband (referred to as 'Charming' throughout) has died. Snow White feels alone and abandoned by those she has loved and lost - her mother and father as a child, then her husband as an adult. Most of the dwarfs have passed on as well, all but one who now lives and works in the castle, helping run Court. Snow White eventually makes her way to an unused tower in her castle and comes face to face with her own life story - as told by the magic mirror that her evil step-mother relied on so many years before. Snow White relives these events and eventually finds her inner strength again to break herself from the melancholy she has been enveloped in since Charming died.

I loved the plot and only wish the story would have been longer. As Snow White realizes what she is still capable of and figures out that she can return to her life, even if it means without Charming, I wanted to then see more interaction between Snow White and her daughter. Even if we did not see Princess Raven's wedding, I would have liked more interaction between the two, to showcase Snow White's rediscovered sense of self and how she could instill that confidence in her daughter. I think this would be especially important, considering how it is explained that Snow White has had such an emotional withdrawal from her life for that year leading up to the wedding.

The scenes from the Mirror itself were well-chosen and well-done. I suppose there were many aspects of Snow White's life that could have been showcased, and the most heartbreaking was when Snow White and her father were discussing going to bring her new step-mother to their kingdom. I mean seriously, knowing what terrible trauma lay ahead for Snow White, it was just so terribly sad. I have a young daughter myself and always seem to over-identify with scenes involving little ones, in that I would be horribly devastated if that were my child going through what Snow White endured. A lot of emotion was evoked in the various scenes, from Snow White running away, to the very descriptive recounting of Snow White recovering from the poison while Charming takes care of her, to their wedding night.

I understand that Snow White was the main character and thus the focus, but there were truly times I wanted to punch her. No matter how many times the Mirror even told her how strong she was, that she survived, she weeped and wailed endlessly. Part of my annoyance with her perceived weakness might be due to the fact that these early Disney Princess versions (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella) are not my favorite for this reason - they are not as strong as later princesses, and so I am inclined to be irritated with the character by default and is no fault of the author. (I am all about Merida, personally).

There are a few technical things that bothered me - a lot of exclamation marks. Again that may be a personal preference, others probably won't be bothered by that. Also, I primarily read non-fiction so certain verb-age seemed out of place given the time period I think this was supposed to be occurring in. Most people do not read as much non-fiction as I do though, so again that kind of thing will not be as obvious to others. I am probably a bit tougher on fiction than most. At one point it was also mentioned that one of the courtiers was wearing a powdered wig - it was my impression before that point that the story was taking place prior to the use of such wardrobe style.

Overall I would recommend this one for (ADULT) lovers of fairy tales. There is more violence than sex, which I am good without both, but the story was still well-done. Just be prepared that this is NOT related to the Disney version of Snow White. Seeing what happens after the story ends, so to speak, is such a great concept and the author did a nice job with the story.

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