The reinvention of classic fairy tales is a common trend these days, and one of my favorites. So when I got a review request for The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith, I couldn’t say no. (That, and the fact that it was my first review request. Yay!)
I was excited to delve into this novel. The premise: years after the events we all know and love, a widowed Snow White struggles with depression after her Prince Charming has passed away and her daughter, Raven, is soon to be married. She happens upon the Evil Queen’s mirror, locked away in a rarely-used tower of the castle, and thus travels through her many life experiences to get over her sadness.
Unfortunately, for me, the story fell flat. From its description, I was expecting a novel that explored a world in which an old Snow White dealt with current troubles involving her daughter and the death of her husband. But as I read, I could not set my finger on where this story actually took place. Sure it was framed in the Evil Queen’s tower, but the memories kept jumping back and forth and I couldn’t tell if the focus was on the story’s present, or on its past. The present world outside of the Evil Queen’s tower is only ever explored at the very beginning of the novel and the very end. There was never any time to venture out into this setting filled with untapped potential.
In addition, much of the story felt bogged down by excessive language and unneeded qualifiers that never seemed to actually get the image clearly across. Amongst the countless run-on sentences and the myriads of typos, it seemed like none of the adjectives or adverbs used in this novel were ever repeated. While this did display an extraordinary vocabulary, it did little to help create a smooth flow for the reader.
Despite all of its flaws, there were parts that I enjoyed. The use of German names for many of the classic characters was a nice touch that effectively referenced the source material. The stark contrast in temperament between the young Snow White with which we are familiar and the aged Snow White Meredith creates effectively drew me into this story right away. The use of a real poisoning instead of a sleeping curse was a nice twist to the original story, and the comically graphic sex scene full of “passionate juices” between Snow White and Prince Charming left me laughing out loud, even though I’m sure that was not the intended reaction.
While this book may not have been all that I had hoped for, there were some shining lights hidden throughout, buried under the wordy prose. If the reworking of classic tales is your thing and you’re willing to trek through the writing itself, you might want to check this book out. It may not have been my cup of tea, but it might be yours.
**I received a free e-book copy in exchange for an honest review of this novel.**