Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem by Melissa Lemon (ARC)

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem
Melissa Lemon
Pub.: December 11, 2012

Snow Whyte and the Queen of MayhemStuck in her family's apple orchards, Kat's got plenty of work to do and only pesky Jeremy to help. But when Jeremy convinces her to run away, Kat will discover that nothing---and no one---in her life is quite what it seems. Wonderfully reimagined, this is the magical tale of Snow White as you've never read it before!

Kat Whyte doesn't know why her uncle keeps her hidden away at the orchard, never allowing her to leave, for no other reason other than he deemed it wasn't safe. She always minded his wishes, but until he went blind and hired Jeremy to help her keep the orchard going, no one ever knew she lived through an attack at infancy. Besides a magical mirror, that is.

Now in her teens, Kat's uncle has become aggressive and unpleasant, and at Jeremy's beseechment, she leaves with what money he can gather, professing his love and promising to come find her later. But she doesn't follow his instructions, and ends up befriending and staying with a group of dwarves. Meanwhile, the Queen of Mayhem learns her daughter never died like she thought, and sends a young man named Iven to kill her. But little does she know, Iven has his own plans in mind for the young princess of Mayhem, who seems to turn the shade of snow in his presence. Eventually, everyone's sight is set on young Snow Whyte, and when their paths all collide, the outcome will be deadly. 
I loved reading Ms. Lemon's retelling of Cinderella in Cinder and Ella, so I was giddy with excitement waiting on the Snow Whyte installment. Once again, the story had a few twists and surprises behind its flap jacket, yet still held onto the roots of the fairytale I grew up reading. I felt there could've been a little more in the way of subplots, but Kat was sweet and pretty, so it was easy to see why she was easily liked by all, including me. Well, everyone except her wicked mother, of course, who couldn't stand that Kat received more affection from the King of Mayhem at infancy. I won't get to much into the story, 'cause I'd rather you discover this new world for yourself.
But I will say, that while it was creative to have the story narrated through the magical mirror's point of view, it didn't really work for me. Yes, we got to see what was happening with the main characters as they were going about their business in the neighboring kingdoms, but I felt a disconnect with each of them. Particularly Kat and Jeremy, who I truly wanted to know better. So many times the mirror felt frustrated because he didn't have access to their inner monologues, and I too felt that way! I was a fly on the wall, but I still wasn't getting the scene before me in its entirety. I guess I just prefer my narrator to be omniscient in terms of the characters. Also, I felt that Snow Whyte took a back seat in this novel. It seemed to be more about what the people around her (the Queen of Mayhem, Jeremy and Iven) were doing in relation to her. Snow Whyte was just going about life, and the only time I felt like I was truly getting her was when she was living and interacting with the dwarves. That's not to say this story wasn't enjoyabe to read, because it was. But personally, I wished it focused more on having Snow Whyte choosing the road before her, rather than letting the other characters influence her decisions in life. You know what I mean? Still enjoyable and worth picking up though.
ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
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