Saturday, July 10, 2010

Snow White and Rose Red

Snow White And Rose Red (Fairy Tales)Snow White And Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is definitely not Disney's Snow White. True, there is no sex or bad language, and violence is only discussed, not really depicted, but that's really where the similarities end. In Patricia C. Wrede's version of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red are the daughters of a poor widow who ekes out a living by making herbal remedies to sell to the townsfolk. They live next to a forest, on the edge of the border of Faerie, in the Elizabethan era of England. Living in the village of Mortlak are two sorcerers whom the girls accidentally spy casting a spell that unwittingly traps the spirit of the younger son of the Queen of Faerie in first a lamp and then a crystal. The Queen's sons are half human/half faerie, and the human half slowly transforms into a bear which is then cast out into the human world. The Queen's older son, John, sneaks out of Faerie in search of a way to save his brother, Hugh, meanwhile a trio of human-hating faeries plots to steal the lamp and crystal and break the bonds holding Faerie to the mortal world.

The language is fabulous--very much how I think Elizabethan English might have sounded. Reading dialogue in the novel is like reading Shakespeare (and I mean that in a good way!), especially toward the end when the Puck-like character of Robin is introduced. It's delightful and really adds to the atmosphere of the story and setting.

So for Reader's Advisors, the main doorways are story and language. It's billed as a YA book, but adults will love it just as much--if not more--than teens.

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