Mirror, Mirror.

Another two days, another Gregory Maguire book accomplished.

What is happening to me?!?! I'm devouring fiction.

Mirror, Mirror is a retelling of the Snow White lore, so meticulously and beautifully conceived that losing oneself in a book becomes a real act, not merely a cliche.

In exquisite Renaissance Italy, Bianca de Nevada resides in a village atop a paradise of hills with her widowed father, Vicente, and a colorful cast of local characters. The cook, Primavera, is blasphemous and wise; Fra Ludovico is pious and meek but brave in his own way. The details of not only setting but time are so lovingly rendered, so masterfully conceived that the plot itself drags a bit in several places; but for myself, I was so enthralled at entering this world, wonky pacing didn't matter much.

Again, all the essential elements of the fairy tale are here - dwarves, poisoned apples, glass coffins; this time, Maguire relents and draws upon a bit of magic here and there to achieve his ends. Additionally we have not a wicked stepmother but Lucrezia Borgia herself as the jealous in power, as well as a quest for eternal fruit plucked long ago from the Tree of Knowledge.

And you'll know way more about early sixteenth-century Italian politcs than you ever wanted to by the end. ;)

This book is quite different than Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Maguire used a different type of prose, and the heavy use of themes present in the Cinderella tale were edged out here, I believe, in favor of plot and detail. But even for its imperfections (Maguire tends to lavish in fabulous prose for too long of a stretch, and likes to plant a startling word in the most innocent of places), I was still fascinated. Enchanted. Bewitched. I recommend it, but only for adults.

Next stop: Wicked.


They might have used their mirror as an escape hatch, to ask it the single correct question, the only question a mirror ever cares about: not who did I used to be, nor who am I now, but who am I to become?

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