Title: The Reflections of Queen Snow White
Author: David Meredith
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Retelling
Published: 2013 – ebook form
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Synopsis From Goodreads:
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 fiancé, 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.
and welcome to my review of The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith. Before we start a little disclaimer: I want to thank the author for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! It was very kind. This book was a huge love and hate relationship for me. The first part was definitely a 5 stars read. The second part not so much, so I had to lower the rating, and I ended up giving it 2/5 stars. If you are curious to know what my thoughts are, please keep reading.
- Plot: The idea of the story as a whole is extremely interesting and not seen before. The potential this novella had was huge: it featured an aging Snow White reflecting back on her past of abuse but also of love through the magic mirror her stepmother used. The first half of the story is very well developed and engrossing. Unfortunately I thought that the second half of the novel was composed by episodes that did not add to the plot or to the character at all, dragging on and on in describing the same scenes. The ending I found rushed and, even thought it solved at least one of the issues Snow White had gone through, I did not feel satisfied from it.
- Characters: let’s start with my favorite character, Arglist, the stepmother. Even though the reader does not meet her too much in the book, her presence keeps lingering and I loved the characterization of this villain, I thought the author did a really good job in portraying her evil nature and jealousy. As long as Charming and Snow White are concerned, I found some issues in how they were portrayed and I will express my opinions in the spoilery section. Let’s say that I really liked young-before-meeting-Charming Snow White.
- Writing: If there is one thing that Meredith is really good at doing is evoking the setting of the novel: his descriptions are admirably detailed, and also, he definitely knows how to use words well. However, the over-usage of exclamation points in parts where I did not think were necessary, or the repetitiveness of certain scenes mined my enjoyment of the reading process. In the end, I found myself struggling to finish this short story.
This is it, these are my main thoughts for the non spoiler section. Once again I want to thank the author for sending a copy of this book my way I really appreciated it! If you have read this let me know what you thought in the comments below!
Until next time,
**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled.
Okay, let’s start with the things that I loved: the first speeches that the mirror made. I know what it means to lose a loved-one, and I found extremely inspiring what the mirror said to Snow White. Also, the whole idea of the queen looking at her reflection to get to know herself more, is very intriguing. I really enjoyed seeing Snow White deciding to run away from the castle in the night: the scenes where she was abused from her stepmother were an extremely good base on where to build a good characterization of Snow White as a victim of depression. Unfortunately, I think that after this point the quality of the story started lacking, for different reasons.
I am currently taking different classes on feminist literature, and being an advocate for gender equality, I found this book degrading the figure of the woman: Snow White was portrayed as a weak person, completely incapable of making decisions on her own, and when I say incapable, I really mean it: even for the smallest things, she has to have someone that tells her what to do. Charming happily supplies her with his ideas, taking over Snow White’s kingdom, and she wants him to take decisions for her.
There are a lot of parts that should be mentioned, but the point that saddened me the most was when she tried to commit suicide because, other than loathing herself for being part of the ‘weaker sex’ and having a huge lack of self-confidence, when she sees that she is having troubles becoming pregnant, she is convinced that she is completely worthless for this very reason. She keeps saying that ‘her womb is dead’ and that ‘she failed as a woman’ and you know what the prince answers? ‘I will put my baby in your belly on this very throne’. If this was supposed to be romantic, it had the opposite effect on me: it disgusted me. If a woman cannot have a child, that does not make her less human. I could go on and on saying in which ways the portrayal of female characters was so wrong (they were wether depressed and weak, or cruel), for example mentioning that Snow White cries in every single scene that features her. I understand that the author was trying to describe depression, which is an incredibly hard state to be in, but this does not excuse the behavior of the other characters in the book at all. It saddened me but most of all it angered me that females are still portrayed in such a way in certain stories. I feel very passionately about this subject, and I hope I have not been too harsh.