Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review: The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

The cover is....again, just all right. I like the picture for what it is, but it also is not attached to any particular scene in the book (all of the reflection scenes took place with a mirror, not a river) and it almost looks like the girl's expression is ready to sneeze. Overall though it is a very pretty cover to look at. 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White is a relatively short read (about 155 pages) going through the events of Snow White's life from the beginning till the end. Admittedly the beginning pages are the most difficult to get through and, in my opinion, should have been significantly cut down as they tend to lean heavily on prose as opposed to actual story. One could argue there is also symbolism in the first few pages that would also be lost, but as a reader, I would prefer to read something which grabbed my attention right away as opposed to something I had to work at to get through. 

Thankfully the rest of the book is not like this and it's pretty engaging to read as some of the elements of Snow White's life tends to be darker than the actual disney story. This gets my instant approval because I love to read about fairy tales on the darker side. There are also a few scenes which take place after the supposed 'happily ever after' that were enjoyable to go through as well. 

At the same time, however, it also felt like there were opportunities that were missed. For example, Snow White explored her reflections with the original dark mirror that led the evil Queen astray. This seems dark and foreboding in the beginning, but towards the end....the mirror just kind of shows her what she wants and they part ways. Why not have the dark mirror try to twist and distort her at the very end, trying to gain control? Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the writer could have also had the mirror be nothing more than a sympathetic trapped soul, and Snow White the true evil for deciding not to help him?  Overall, this is an enjoyable read, but there were far too many instances where the writer played it safe instead of taking Snow White out of her comfort zone for very long. Given that the point of the book was to show Snow White's true strength, that worked against it. 

FINAL GRADE: 2.5 out of 5. A few dark scenes here and there made it entertaining, but there were also a few opportunities for the story to be taken in a new direction that were missed. 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White can be found here

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