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Review: Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem by Melissa Lemon [ARC]

Monday, November 19, 2012 § 0 Comments

Title: Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem
Author: Melissa Lemon
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Release date: December 11, 2012
ISBN-10: 1462111459
ISBN-13: 9781462111459
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Stuck in her family's apple orchards, Kat's got plenty of work to do and only pesky Jeremy to help. But when Jeremy convinces her to run away, Kat will discover that nothing---and no one---in her life is quite what it seems. Wonderfully reimagined, this is the magical tale of Snow White as you've never read it before!

My Review:
This enchanting re-telling of the timeless classic follows the journey of Kat, Princess of Mayhem, as she is forced out of her own kingdom at a young age. She grows up in an isolated apple orchard with her kind-hearted uncle, forced to stay within for her own safety. As years pass, her destiny catches up with her and things change in ways she never expected. Everything that's ever been familiar to her takes drastic turns and new life-changing encounters bring her closer to the past that was wrongfully and unknowingly taken away from her.

I am such a sucker for fairy tales. I especially love re-tellings of fairy tales that take on their own unique twist, but still retains that familiarity that made it a classic in the first place. This book has it all: the girl with skin as white as snow, the evil queen, the seven dwarves, and the magic mirror. Then there are the original additions, the lovely old-fashioned narrative, and captivating turns in the storyline. There aren't enough adjectives in the world to describe how much I enjoyed this book.

There are similar aspects between the original and Lemon's re-imagining, but she takes it to a whole other level with twists and revelations. One of the changes that I loved the most was that the evil stepmother, hell-bent on killing Snow White, was actually Kat's biological mother in this one. It makes it even more twisted and extreme; a mother wanting her own daughter dead? That has got to be one for the Freudian psychoanalytic theory books. She was actually born into royalty as opposed to being married into it, so she's rightfully allowed to have that kind of power. It's frightening. The dangers were clear and the Queen utilized her mirror to the best of her advantage, which made her the worst kind of villain, always lurking and waiting to exalt her power on those who defied her. Another thing was the choice for the narrator; he couldn't have been more perfect in context. It's narrated in omniscient third person, but in the best way possible: Jasper, the sole narrator, is the Queen's all-seeing mirror; a secondary character. How genius is that? The connections he had to Kat and the Queen made him a sympathetic and compelling character, as he was completely stuck, knowing what hardships lie ahead but being forced to watch from afar. The dwarves were also given a new spin, far from the Doc, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy et al. that we're used to in this day and age. There was much more dimension and realism to every single one of them. The characters that... weren't so likeable, they were still interesting. All in all, this book is filled with captivating characters and they're all intertwined in ways that I never saw coming.

The romance in the book was quite minimal, but it was there and drove much of the story along, especially in Jeremy's case. The other relationships were done very nicely as well, Kat and one of the dwarves named Pokole, in particular. The twists in the story lay more within the relationships than plot, and I found myself gaping at some of the reveals throughout the book.

Sight was an interesting concept in the book. The mirror saw everything while Kat only saw what was within the orchard. Her uncle lost his sight while the Queen never saw how her actions were affecting her reign and the townspeople. Also, the fantasy twist involving the snow fits so well into the story, and it's a creative twist at that.

Personally, neither the original European tale nor the Disney version are my favourites of all the fairy tales. Doesn't even crack the top 5. But this book is probably one of the best retelling's I've read in a long time, and while this is more of a re-imagining, it still made me re-evaluate and love the original tale a little bit more. Lemon gives readers a very original take on one of the most well-known classics. You'll feel the familiarity while being taken on a whole new enchanting ride with this version. It's one to watch for next month; I'd definitely recommend it to any Snow White fan! This is especially the perfect book for the winter season.

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Cedar Fort for providing me with the ARC.

My rating:

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Buy this book:
CedarFort.com | IndieBound.org | Amazon.com

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