Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Wrap Up

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Wrap Up

So, as Matthew pointed out in his guest post from earlier this week, Snow White is one of those fairy tale with not a lot to recommend it, and if Walt Disney hadn’t sunk his teeth into it, it probably wouldn’t be remembered much at all these days. The evidence of this is, I believe, in the way we saw the story retold this month. More than any other fairy tale we’ve looked at, this month’s novels seem to stray far from the original plot line.

Snow takes the story to an entirely different time period, replacing magic with science and dwarfs with half-human/half-animal hybrids.

Snow in Summer does a similar thing, taking the story to the Appalachia mountains and infusing it with those superstitions and traditions, churches of black magic, demons and devils, and things of that nature. Both Snow and Snow in Summer feel much more grounded in the real world than the original story does, and both take dramatic turns away from the elements of that story.

Fairest departs the most dramatically, using the basic outline of Snow White more as a vehicle to use to explore a world already created by the author. The ideas inherent in Snow White are there, but they are used in drastically different ways, and the plot takes a lot more twists and turns.

Fairest of All is the closest to the original story, and even it exists as a deliberate retelling of the Disney movie, in much the same way that Gregory Maguire’s Wicked does with The Wizard of Oz.

Because I think these authors found what Matthew and I have observed: there’s just not that much too this story, and there’s so much about it that is problematic. So they found their own way to spruce up the story. And you know what? It works. While we have to have respect for an original source material that we work from, it’s also important to feel the freedom to branch out, to take the story down to its bare essentials and build up from there. That’s what our authors this month have done.

So! The rankings.

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine and Fairest of All by Serena Valentino come Highly Recommended, while Snow by Tracy Lynn and Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen both come Recommended. All in all, a good showing this month.               

Other Notable Novels: Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey, and given that her Elemental Masters series is one of my favorite fairy tale series out there, I really should actually include one in a review one of these months. I get daunted by how long and complicated they are, making them really hard to summarize, but they’re fantastic!

Next month, we look at Jack and the Beanstalk! See you all tomorrow!

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