Friday, 27 April 2012

Review: Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Title: Snow: A Retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Author: Tracy Lynn
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 1st, 2003
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retellings

In Wales during the reign of Queen Victoria, a Duke in a small village loses his wife in childbirth when she gives birth to his daughter, Jessica. Broken hearted over the loss of his beloved wife, the Duke let his daughter be raised by the various servants. When the Duke remarries the beautiful and intelligent Anne, Jessica finally has a mother. As the Duchess teaches her how to be a proper woman, Jessica still finds ways to be with the servants. Her best friend Allen, the violin player, spends his time finding odd items for the Duchess. While Jessica had once admired her Stepmother, when she became a teenager she was punished by being used as a servant, making her skin so pale from the indoors that it earned her a new nickname, Snow. The Duchess, obsessed with being able to bear her husband a second child, discovers a twisted possible solution to her problems. In order to bear a child, she believes that all she needs is a human heart and she is more than willing to sacrifice her stepdaughter. In the dark of night, Snow leaves the home she’s always known for London, seeking refuge with a group of impossible creatures.

When I first read the description of this book, I was a little confused about the Snow White character being named Jessica, since Shakespeare originated the name. However, this made sense once I learnt that the story is set in Victorian times. This retelling of Snow White was the kind of book you enjoy while you read it, but looking back later there are things that just didn’t work. It was interesting to see how this classic fairy tale was adapted in a Victorian tale, and how the writer recreated her own versions of the mirror, the seven dwarfs and the poisoned apple. For people who are big fans of the original story, I wouldn’t recommend this book. While there are some great retellings that work well and compliment the original, like Ella Enchanted, I don’t think this book is one of them. However, I’m not a huge fan of Snow White and was therefore able to enjoy this book. I think the author did a good job of creating a Victorian fairy tale that was interesting. I liked her style of story telling and her creativity. My main problem with Snow White in general is the title character, who is just so na├»ve and gullible. I still had this problem with Tracy Lynn’s Snow, although she had much more personality than the Walt Disney character, in my opinion. At the beginning, Snow seemed like a typical retelling. However, things proved to be more bizarre than I first imagined. While I liked some of the creative twists, there were parts that didn’t flow well, such as the sudden presence of the Clockwork Man. Some parts at the end felt a bit thrown together but overall I enjoyed this book. It challenges the common conceptions about fairy tales and true love. Snow is a unique retelling of a story everyone knows about the power of true love.


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