Saturday, December 22, 2012

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem by Melissa Lemon

 In this retelling of Snow White, we get the story from an unusual source: the magic mirror.  Not long after Princess Katiyana is born, her mother, the queen, does everything in her power to cause her death.  The king flees the kingdom with Katiyana, placing her into the safety of an uncle, before dying himself.  Katiyana grows up with no idea she is a princess, or that the queen still seeks her and wishes for her death.

The fact that in this story the evil queen in not Katiyana's stepmother, but her actual mother gives a darker feeling to everything.  The queen doesn't desire Katiyana's death because she's afraid that someone is more beautiful than she, but because she is really and truly evil.  She has a dictator-like control over her kingdom, having people killed at the least cause.  Because she is capable of magic, no one dares to oppose her.  And if someone does, the magic mirror has the ability to show exactly who is plotting.

The queen learned her magic from a wizard who she seduced, and who she then traps in the magic mirror.  The queen thought she was able to put a spell on the mirror so the wizard would never be able to escape and never be able to lie.  Only one part of that spell worked.  The wizard does not always show the queen exactly what she wants to see, and in his own time, constantly keeps an eye on Kat, and watches her grow up.

While I liked the premise of the story, I found Kat's story kind of forced.  Probably because Melissa Lemon felt like she need to make it fit into the Snow White parameters.  I think it could have been a more engaging story if it wasn't trying to be a retelling of Snow White.  Really, aside from the dwarfs, it wasn't all that much like it.  And the dwarfs were the part that felt forced, as did the spell that the wizard put on Kat that she became like ice whenever danger was near.

Kat really didn't have much of a role in the story.  She's at her uncle's, then she leaves after her uncle becomes a drunk and abusive.  She is in love with a boy who promises to come back for her, but then disappears.  She's taken in by the dwarfs and lives with them for a while, while the boy that the queen sent to kill her tries to get into her good races for his own personal gain.

There was a nice moment when Kat finally stops letting people make decisions for her and tells the boy she doesn't really like but has been tolerating because she's sad where he can shove it.

So while I liked the idea of this story a lot, I found it a little slow.  The political side of things and what was happening in the kingdoms was much more interesting, but there wasn't a lot of that.

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