a clever premise, adequately delivered.
there are enough glowing reviews on here for this book/story, that i feel i don’t need to do that thing that i do sometimes, where i try to be super duper upbeat-positive glowy for the self-published authors. because, yeah—there is a lot of crappy self-pub out there, but it seems unnecessary to shit-talk people who are putting it all out there and broadening the scope of the publishing industry. and there are some true gems out there, unknown to many. i really admire gumption and the DIY spirit, so sometimes i will oversell something that might not be “quite” there just to help spread the word. and, i mean, i’m not that discriminating—i read monster erotica, for goodness’ sake.*
but people are raving about this, so i feel okay about being a little more critical. you are your own person—make up your own mind.
while i love the idea behind this book, there are some purely technical matters even i can’t overlook. the curse of the self-pub world is editing. editors are amazing people. they can approach the work—the author’s baby—with an entirely objective critical mindset, and make suggestions to the author about where they have maybe overstepped, become too close to the material, become too enamored with the way words sound at the cost of clarity.
It was one of the coldest winters. The snow fell intensively, burying the lovely purple poppy fields and covering it with a shroud of a thick layer of dark white snow. Somehow, the white of the snow that year did not reflect sunlight or shadows. It lay grisly over the contour-lined land like a dead girl’s white coat made of the fur of dead polar bears, like a white wavy carpet that was in no way magical. The curves of the land made the snow look like there was a beautiful gigantic dead girl buried underneath it. Little did I know that the time would come that this buried girl could only be Snow White or me, that the world wouldn’t be spacious enough for both of us.
i know what is going on in that paragraph, and it could be lovely, but it just needs a little tweaking to remedy the repetition and some grammatical slip-ups. but the image is a good one. and it is one of those things; you are in a fairytale atmosphere, and as you are reading it within that context, it is easy to get caught up in the rhythm and the spirit of it, and dissonances like that can more or less be glossed.
however, a bigger problem for me was that of tone. the shape of this story is in the form of a letter from the “evil queen” of the snow white tale to wilhelm carl grimm. in 2012. there is a reason given for this seeming “whaaaaa??” and i accept it. but the tone of this oscillates between the traditional, formal fairy tale style and some jarring modern-day intrusions that just don’t work for me.
I knew my daughter would grow up to be a kick-ass girl one day, but right then, she was still a baby—and yes, the Queen of Sorrow says kick ass and stuff like that. Because guess what? I am an immortal, and I have seen everything from Brothers Grimm to Lady Gaga. You feelin’ me?
that is too forcefully contrived, and makes me feel like there is a rapping grandma in front of me. it is not terrible, but it is inelegant, and i think the modern-day elements could have been more gracefully included.
overall, i was intrigued. i will be reading the other two prequels, because i am interested in where this is going, and i do love fairytale retellings. i think a professional editor could tighten this up a great deal, and despite the problems i had with it, i did enjoy reading it. as for you, if you are reading my reviews, you are clearly not a stickler for grammar, yeah?
*this doesn’t mean i can’t be trusted—i will never out and out lie about a book, but sometimes i will talk around something if i feel like i cannot fully endorse it.