Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks again, David!
Anyone who knows me will know that Fairy Tales and fantasy stories have and will always be close to my heart. Two of my favourite genres, I was both excited and nervous to start reading The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
A story that everyone knows well, Snow White is a princess who must flee from her castle and stepmother after her father dies. Her stepmother is a madwoman, greedy and self-involved, and obsessed with being the most beautiful woman there is. But when her magic mirror reveals that it is her stepdaughter who is truly the fairest in the land, she flies into a jealous rage and demands Snow’s heart. Fleeing and taking shelter in the company of seven dwarfs, she lives there peacefully for a time, and manages to escape poisoning twice, before finally falling victim to the poison apple we know so well. But she is awakened by true love’s kiss, by Prince Charming, and her stepmother is punished severely by dancing at their wedding in iron shoes that have been heated over a roaring fire. A story with a slightly dark, but happy ending for our princess.
But is it really the ending?
What I loved most about this novel was that it wasn’t a retelling of such a classic story, but it was like a continuation. It reminded me of an epilogue, in a way, and it worked!
The novel takes place many years later, mere weeks away from Snow White’s daughter’s wedding. By this time, her Prince Charming has been dead for approximately a year, but Snow is still grievously in mourning, unable to cope. She walks in the shadows of the castle, and finds herself walking up the tower where her stepmother used to reside, and comes across the magic mirror she was so obsessed with. What follows bounces between present reality and memories that she relives through the mirror. I thought this was really interesting, and something I truly didn’t expect. But through these memories, we were able to see what Snow’s life was like during marriage, the ups, the downs, and all the intimate moments.
I particularly enjoyed the focus on the mirror itself. It’s something many associate with evil, but Meredith focuses on the fact that it is, after all, only a mirror. It merely reflects the person who stares into it, and can help uncover secrets locked within said person. It cannot offer advice, only truth. So the relationship between Snow and mirror was quite an intriguing one, and one I’m glad he focused on.
It’s definitely an easy and immersive read, though not one for the faint of heart. This continuation is closer to the original tale than the Disney film. It has much darkness, and adult content. There are a couple of sex scenes, along with violence and physical abuse. Don’t expect a happy-go-lucky story going into this book, for you won’t like what you see.
The language itself is almost always fluid, very rich and told like a fairy tale which I really liked. There was the occasional awkward phrasing, but overall it was quite enjoyable. I think the concept of the novel itself was extremely intriguing, and in general executed well, though I’d say there were specific plot points that I found to be a let down, or built up unnecessarily. I would have also liked to see more of why Snow couldn’t find the strength to continue on for her daughter. Of course the loss of her husband would be extremely difficult, but the fact that she won’t go near her daughter for a year’s time suggests something much deeper at play, which I think could have been good to go into. Going off of that, there were times where I found Snow to be fairly weak and passive, expecting that her Prince will save the day. This is something she admits to herself, and something the mirror proves is not always true, but I just wish we had seen more of it. The memories were much more enjoyable, for me, because we saw some strength in her. I think had we seen more of that, combined with her grieving, she would have been a more enjoyable protagonist.
Overall, I’d say I was pleasantly surprised with the story. The concept was something I really liked, though Snow White could have been a stronger protagonist. The language was beautiful, but there was a patriarchal vibe that came across a little too often for me to give it a four star rating. As such, I would give The Reflections of Queen Snow White a solid 3/3.5 star rating, and invite any lover of fairy tales to give it a chance. It’s an interesting take on happily ever after, and the relationship between the Queen and the mirror is definitely worth a read.
I’d like to thank David Meredith once again for offering me to review his book! If you have a published novel (self or otherwise), that you’d like reviewed, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!