Friday, May 23, 2014

"The Reflections of Queen Snow White" by David Meredith

I received this e-book for free via the author, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

When I began reading, I was interested mainly because I have an insatiable appetite when it comes to fairy tales- particularly ones that are more true to the "original" fairy tales. What you may think is a real fairy tale is most likely the sugar-coated versions we were all encountered at bedtime during our childhoods. I enjoy the "raw" ones best, the ones you find mainly in curated copies in the adult sections of bookstores. They are more gruesome, and sometimes not what you'd expect. For example: Rapunzel had a bit of an issue fitting into her clothes after frolicking for some weeks with her rescuer in the garden. And it wasn't because she'd been sneaking sweets.

This book languished a full three days on my Kindle before I couldn't stand just looking at it as I finished up my other commitments- this book boasts a slim waistline at a mere 155 pages, and the cover demanded I read it. Admittedly, it's a slow start, but once I began reading in earnest, the chapters flew by.

The Plot:
Queen Snow White has lost her King Charming, and with him, much of her will to endure the world beyond her bedchambers. Dwelling in old memories while avoiding as much of her commitments as she can, she goes to a dark corner of the palace, a place she has never had the desire to visit before- the chambers of her tormentor. And there, among the dusty belongings of a Queen long past, she sees a mirror that may just be the key to unlocking her future...

At first, I found the title a mouthful for such a small book, until I realized that it was the crux of the entire plot. Snow White must find herself (and her inner resilience) through a series of reflections of her past to break from her reverie of mournfulness. It was intriguing to see the "mirror" cast in a more divergent light than its previous, slightly sinister incarnations, as well as the dwarves having a lesser part in Snow White's life.

The story of Snow White is among the more familiar fairy tales, and beloved, but it often isn't the one people choose to retell when writing a book. (There is a reason why I have a tag dedicated to "Beauty and the Beast", while all other fairy-tale-like books are filed simply under "Fairy Tale".)  This book tells of Snow White the human, not the icon we often think of her as, delving through the depths of her character to the candid moments that reveal a surprisingly realized person. Most fairy tales retold often involve a certain level of "purifying" the main characters, making them seem so inhuman by never having them make a misstep greater than perhaps lying. This is what some readers seek, but I am not one of those readers, and this is not one of those books. Snow White in this tale is flawed, tormented, and acutely rendered.

While this may not be a fairy tale retelling to suit everyone, it is certainly one I could recommend to those seeking a truer, more humanized version of a character we often forget about as soon as the page reads, "Happily ever after."

Rating: 4 of 5 stars for a more authentic interpretation to a well-loved story.

Content: This retelling includes abuse, sex, and other more difficult subjects. Ages 18+.

Page Count: 155 pages in the e-book.

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