The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
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.
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.
This one is another book I read in exchange for an honest review.
On first look, The Reflections of Queen Snow White is right up my alley. I absolutely adore books/movies/television shows that are re-tellings/reworkings/what-have-you of common tales or fairy tales. However, once I began reading, one thing struck me very clearly from the very start of the book.
That is, David Meredith’s style of writing is best summed up in three (alliterative) words: “Pretty Purple Prose.”
Purple Prose is regularly agreed to be prose that is flowery and extravagant (often to the detriment of the story) and heavy handed with usage of adjectives and metaphors.
Generally speaking, I prefer my stories to be nitty-gritty and get straight to the point. And at first, I thought this manner of prose was going to be tiresome. However, as I read, I realized that this wasn’t a story that would “get straight to the point.” The Reflections of Queen Snow White is just that: a collection of her (with a little help from The Mirror) reflecting on her life and the events that led up to where she is now.
Now, all of this makes it a book that is far removed from what I usually read. I like action and adventure and excitement and stakes.
However, this is the first book in a long while, that has actually and fully made me cry. Though there is no true adventure, at least in the traditional sense, there is change, and there are stakes.
Snow White changes, and you can see that very clearly. Perhaps even more clearly than in my preferred “action-packed” adventure novels. The stakes, while not clear, I understood at the end. If she hadn’t changed, she would forever stay a “wraith,” estranged from her daughter and from her people. Alive, but not living.
I’m rating this 5 stars out of 5.
(And broadening my horizons, by looking for more books that house internal, rather than external, conflict.)
About the Author
David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He recieved both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.
The Bottle Stopper by Angeline Trevana
“Too much trouble, and you’ll end up just like your crazy mother.”
Maeve was six when they took her mother away, and left her in the care of her Uncle Lou: a drunk, a misogynist, a fraud.
For eleven years she’s lived with him in Falside’s slums, deep in the silt of the Falwere River. She bottles his miracle medicine, stocks his apothecary shop, and endures his savage temper.
But as his violence escalates, and his lies come undone, she devises a plan to escape him forever. Even if it means people have to die.
A dark and gripping thriller set in a future dystopia. If you like stories of oppressive governments, genetic selection, mass murder, and the fight for freedom, if you look for unlikely heroes and always root for the underdog, you’ll love The Bottle Stopper.
The Bottle Stopper started a little slow for me. In fact, were it not for the fact I promised a review of the book, I may have stopped reading it altogether before I made it to the first quarter mark. However, now that I’ve finished it, I’m glad I stuck with it and am heartily looking forward to the second book, The Matching, which is due to be available this spring.
The Bottle Stopper is definitely very dark, with no holds barred when it comes to abuse, death, secrets and lies. Angeline’s style of writing is easy to fall into, though for me, the physical descriptions of Falside could be expanded upon more. (Though, this is purely due to personal preference). While I could picture the apothecary and the bakery and individual places, the city as a whole somehow seems to escape my grasp.
There is a certain death at… around the 1/3 mark (one of many), that leaves the protagonist, Maeve, with feelings of (misplaced) guild and remorse, as well as (righteous) hatred for her uncle Lou. However, to me as the reader, the death didn’t have as big an impact. The character was there, and present, and was friends with Maeve, but I just never came to care about the character. That death could have been much better handled. I feel like that death had as much impact as the numerous others that are detailed in the remainder of the book.
Now, recall how I said the beginning of the story started slow? I figured out why it seemed that way at around the halfway point. Angeline reveals little tidbits of truth through the novel. So, obviously, at the beginning, we know little about the circumstances surrounding Maeve, other than she was left with her abusive uncle. (At this point in the book, all we are meant to do is form an attachment to Maeve; and, I’ll be honest, I flinched or cringed every time Uncle Lou became angry.)
Through the remaining book, we are given snippets of other’s lives, and how the actions of this one little slip of a girl on the Floor can have far reaching consequences. Not only that, but we are introduced to some other characters and, rather late in the book, are given more snippets of truth regarding Maeve’s mother, and father, and the bookshop, and everything starts coming together like the pieces of a puzzle.
Despite the slow start and everything, I love, Love, LOVE the setting, and the characters, and the questions. And I’m giving it Five out of Five stars. Amazing, no question.
About the Author:
(Image used from her website linked above.)
Born and bred in a rural corner of Devon, Angeline now lives among the breweries and canals of central England. She is a horror and fantasy author, poet, and journalist.
In 2003 she graduated from Edge Hill University, Lancashire, with a BA Hons degree in Drama and Writing. During this time she finally decided that her future lay in writing words rather than performing them.
The most unlikely of horror writers, Angeline is scared of just about everything, still can’t sleep in a fully dark room, and goes weak at the mere sight of blood.
Still religiously checks the back of every wardrobe she comes across for a passage to Narnia.
Unbunch your panties and put down the picket signs, I don’t mean it like that.
What I Do Mean
I hate the “Young Adult” classification of books. Both as a reader and as a writer, I feel that trying to put an “age limit” on books is, quite frankly, retarded. I didn’t read YA books for a long time, because of the classification. Honestly, when I picked up a YA book, it was by accident. The same goes with the “Teen” section in book stores. They’re all YA books, but I feel that setting them apart like that keeps adults from picking up the books because “they’re for kids/teens.” Despite the fact that they’re good books. My fiance and I just bought The Maze Runner, by James Dashner after seeing the movie. (Aside: Great movie, go see it. If you’ve read the book, they get a lot wrong, but I’m still in the process of reading the book.)
The Maze Runner is in the Teen/YA section in the bookstore along with many others. If it weren’t for the movie, I never would have picked it up. I think that’s because the perception of YA books is that their second-class as opposed to “real” fiction. This is wrong.
Definition of YA
Alright, a couple quotes from the Young Adult Fiction wikipedia page.
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years up to the age of twenty-five
The subject matter and story lines of YA literature are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character, but YA literature spans the spectrum of fiction genres.
Okay, young characters do not a YA book make, problem number one.
Problem number two, Young Adult is not a genre, yet we’re using it as one. YA books can be any number of genres, from science fiction to fantasy to realistic fiction.
- YA books are only for teens/children/young adults.
- YA books cannot/should not be read by adults.
- Only teens will like YA books.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Maybe you should discredit everything I’m saying because I’m within that 16 – 25 age gap. But at the same time, I’ve only recently discovered YA books because I subscribed, perhaps unconsciously, to the “YA is not as good as REAL fiction” mindset.
The truth is, everyone can read and enjoy YA books.
Look at The Hunger Games trilogy. Those are “YA” books. My mother enjoyed them. As well as the Divergent series, another YA trilogy.
Why We Need to Get Rid of the YA Genre
It’s insulting. You’re telling teens that they should ONLY read these books. That they can’t handle/understand/read REAL fiction. That they’re not mature enough and they should stick with these books that were tailored just for them. Ugh. This is so wrong. I didn’t start reading YA books until after I graduated from high school. I read the Lord of the Rings in middle school.
The flip side of this argument is even more insulting. You’re telling adults that they shouldn’t read these books. That these books are only for kids or immature young adults. Really? You’re gonna try and tell any one what they can and can’t or should and shouldn’t read?
Alright. So maybe the YA genre is well-meaning. MAYBE it’s not meant to come off as limiting or whatnot. But it does. And it needs to go away.