Mirror, Mirror by Jen Calonita
ARC received via NetGalley for an honest review.
Publish Date: April 2, 2019
I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings and so when I was granted my wish for this book from NetGalley I was sooo excited to start reading it right away!! Unfortunately it took me a while to get the rest of my books read before I could start this one but boy was I happy once I finally got to crack it open and jump into the wonderful world of Disney! And even better, the familiar story of Snow White but with a small twist… in this version of Snow White, it’s the prince who is poisoned by The Evil Queen instead of Snow, and it’s up to Snow to defeat her evil aunt and save her kingom before it’s destroyed by The Evil Queen’s greed and lust for power.
I think when reading this retelling it was a lot different than most retellings because this series is published by Disney Hyperion so therefore the names and places and characters aren’t changed. We really do meet all seven of the dwarves: Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Doc, and Dopey! It was also interesting because it held so true to the story we all know but in this case we get a lot more of the backstory. We learn about The Evil Queen and why she became so, well, evil and where she acquired her infamous magic mirror. We also learn a little more about Snow’s childhood and how she is related to The Evil Queen, her Aunt Ingrid. The only thing we were missing was the talking mice!!
World building and character building was pretty straight forward since this was a story we already know. But as with all books versus movies, it’s all in the details in the book! And of course in this case the added details such as the aviary in the castle gardens where Snow’s love of animals and birds grew from her mother’s love for her winged beauties. The history behind the story brings more insight on the characters we love, and through their past we begin to realize how things came to be in the present story we already know. I love learning more of the story and what makes these characters tick. I think that’s also why I enjoyed the chapters of Ingrid (the evil queen) because through her chapters you see that she wasn’t always evil, but over time and through greed she was driven to darkness. It’s interesting that the choices made throughout the lives of Ingrid and Snow’s mother, Katherine, led to such different paths. Katherine becoming a kind and benevolent Queen who is loved by all and who instills love and kindness into her daughter. And then Ingrid who feels like she must do all the corrupt and dark deeds to protect her sister’s innocence and through this she inevitably corrupts her own heart with lust and greed. Being brainwashed by an evil mirror doesn’t help things either but power doesn’t come without a price and unfortunately Ingrid learns this the hard way.
The romance in the way of all Disney movies is definitely quite a bit of insta love but we knew that was going to be the case anyway. It was sweet and I liked the dynamic between Henric and Snow. We all secretly want our own Prince Charming to come along and woo us from upon our balcony as we look down at his dreamy face and blush and be doted upon. Or is that just me? Lol!! Anyway, it’s sweet and I like how he is loyal to Snow and driven to help her defeat her evil aunt and take back what is rightfully hers! Of course we know from the beginning that he is doomed to a sleep like death, it’s still sweet to see the relationship between him and Snow grow throughout the book.
Even though it was a lot of fun revisiting an old story, it also was one of the things that took away from the enjoyment of this book. While there was a small twist, and we did get some background to the characters that we didn’t know previously, the plot was really straight forward and spot on to the original story of Snow White. This lead to it being very predictable. I kept waiting for a big plot twist or something to surprise me and make me say wow, but other than Henric being poisoned instead of Snow, it follows the original story very closely. I also think that there were many things that were just assumed to be key details that weren’t explained or utilized any more than just in mentions here and there, such as Snow’s connection to animals and especially birds. There is a crow or raven mentioned quite a few times but we never find out why it’s following her. There also mention of deer that often show up at the dwarve’s cottage but never a reason for any mention of this.. it felt like some opportunities missed in these details. I also feel like it really didn’t make much of a difference in the story that Henric was poisoned instead of Snow.. this was the big twist that was supposed to draw us into this retelling but I didn’t see the significance of this change. In the end the story was so similar that the plot twist wasn’t much of a twist, it was too similar to what we already knew about this fairytale.
In the end though, it’s a great story of the power of love and kindness in the face of evil and greed. How all it takes is someone to believe in themselves and what they stand for to brave what all others fear. And how you might think that going down a path that feels like your only option no matter how corrupt isn’t the right thing to do, but the easy way out. And in the end easy isn’t better. Being true to yourself will attract the right attention and give you all your heart deserves and desires. Family is what is important and to protect those we love, we must stay true to ourselves and do it with honor and trust and honesty. I love fairytales for their morals and lessons to learn and there is a big one to be heard in this story. I think that this a great addition to this series and I look forward to the rest to come!
If you liked this book:
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is a perfect follow up for Mirror, Mirror in many ways. They both are similar to the stories we know but with their own twists to make them unique as well. Both books alternate POVs between the villains and the heroines so we learn more of the story than what we know from our childhood versions of these fairytales. And through these alternating views, we get to learn more about the villains that we didn’t know before. I enjoyed Henning’s take on The Little Mermaid even though it’s a bit different since it’s not Disney affiliated, but still just as enjoyable and easily recognizable.
Do you have a favorite fairytale retelling? If so what book? What was your favorite Disney movie growing up? I’m a huge Disney fan and thought it was so much fun brushing up on my Snow White knowledge! Do you enjoy retellings? I’d love to know what you think!!!