Sunday, November 16, 2014
Book Review: Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
Rae and her sisters lost their kingdom to an evil king. Now, their stepfather is at it again, trying to take over another throne by deposing another queen and her son, Prince Leopold. Only by offering Leopold her help, along with that of her six sisters, can Rae keep history from repeating itself? Only a mirror, an apple, and a glass coffin are standing in her way.
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from http://www.starlahuchton.com/
“Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.
Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.
Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.”
If you want to read Snow White like you've never read it before, this is the book for you. Huchton has made some amazing changes to the surface of the story while keeping the core of it true. You'll recognize the key points: the apple, the description of the "Snow White" character, the coffin, even the mirror. I came into this knowing that it was a new retelling of Snow White, but even if I hadn't, I would have recognized it. It's a great take on the tale, and Huchton more than does it justice.
And even better, it is a genderflipped version. We get the girl saving the prince, but it's not done in a way that makes the genders imbalanced. The prince is a man, definitely, and is strong. Rae is a powerful young woman, worthy of the adventure she's up against. She has her weaknesses, too, which makes her journey all the more powerful.
I've read a fair few of Huchton's works now (you can find one here) and she has one of the most pleasant styles I've come across. She's straightforward and fun, keeping things vivid and engaging from start to finish. In Shadows on Snow, her little homages to the "traditional" fairy tell style, specifically in the beginning and end, work as a wonderful gateway between the real world and the story itself. This is a book you can just sink into. It's comfortable in being a familiar old story, but still new enough to keep the attention peaked.
And the dialogue... some of what these characters-- particularly Rae-- say is true to life. I had a moment where I just wanted to Z-snap at someone after Rae made a comment. It was brilliant. Huchton has really tapped into some good material for YA readers.
This book is a real winner and a joy to read. I don't know if I can attribute this to the story itself or just the fact that Snow White isn't a favorite fairy tale of mine, but I really didn't care overmuch for the Snow White parallel character, Prince Leopold. That isn't to say Leopold is unlikeable. Quite the opposite. Then again, this wasn't really his story. This is Rae's story, and she is a heroine to relate to and admire. She's definitely a teenager with an opinion and skills, and reading things from her perspective is a blast.
The world Huchton created around the elements of the original story are rich and full, making this a world with lots more stories to tell. I hope to see more fairy tale retellings set here. This is an excellent read for young adults and not-so-young adults.
Would I Recommend This Book? Definitely. If you like fairy tells, this is a great one to add to the collection. It's witty, thoughtful, and full of surprises that revitalize the original fairy tale. I give Shadows on Snow a salted 4.5 of 5 stars.
For more information on the author, visit http://www.starlahuchton.com/