Title: Mirror Mirror
Author: Gregory Maguire
Date finished: 1/11/16
Genre: Fiction, Fairy tale retelling, historical fiction
Publication Date: September 28, 2004
Pages in book: 280
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library
Blurb from the cover:
Gregory Maguire, the acclaimed author who re-imagined a darker, more dangerous Land of Oz in his New York Times bestselling series The Wicked Years, offers a brilliant reinvention of the timeless Snow White fairy tale: Mirror Mirror. Setting his story amid the cultural, political and artistic whirlwind of Renaissance Italy—and casting the notorious Lucrezia Borgia as the Evil Queen—Maguire and Mirror Mirror will enthrall a wide array of book lovers ranging from adult fans of Harry Potter to readers of the sophisticated stories of Angela Carter.
My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (January). Also, this book will count towards my “Holiday 2015 Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Retelling” square, since this was a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. I have been wanting to try reading something by Gregory Maguire for a while now since he has some popular books out and also because I loved loved loved Wicked the Musical (is based on his book Wicked). So I was pretty excited when this one was picked for book club. And while I’m still looking forward to reading the Wicked series, this retelling of Snow White just didn’t hit the spot for me.
This books tells the story of Bianca de Nevada, who lives at her home of Montefiore with her father Don Vicente. Vicente is sent on what is basically a wild goose chase by Cesare Borgia (real person) and Cesare’s sister, Lucrezia, promises to look after young Bianca. Bianca is only seven years old when her father leaves on his quest. Much of the political text of this book is based on what actually happened, which adds an interesting twist to the classic fairy tale.
Overall I feel weird about this book. It was really interesting and I liked pieces of it but it was a pretty dark story, more like Grimm’s fairy tales than the ones I’m used to. Also there was a lot of weird sexual stuff going on, lots of incest. Its hard for me to say that I liked or didn’t like this one, really it was interesting but it made me feel weird and also sad is the summation of how I felt about the book.
The bottom line: If you’re into dark fairy tales then you’d probably enjoy this. It was a little too freaky for my tastes but I have to admit it was a creative and interesting retelling of Snow White’s story. Seemed less like a fairy tale and more just like a regular fantasy novel.