Thursday, February 26, 2015

[Review] "Snow, glass, apples" by Neil Gaiman


Synopsis

A young princess … her skin as white as snow … her hair as black as coal ... her lips as red as blood … an innocent young girl victimized by her evil stepmother.
Or is she?
Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” turns the traditional “Snow White” fairytale on its head and tells the story from the point of view of the “wicked” stepmother, who knows the truth about this less-than-innocent girl and attempts to save the kingdom from her unnatural and monstrous stepdaughter.

Rating

Review

(Caution: it contains spoilers that will ruin the story for you!)
I love re-tellings. My favorite ones are usually focused on Cinderella's tale (Gilded Ashes is the best re-telling I've ever read), but, since Snow White is my favorite Disney princess, I decided to give this a try. Before I started reading it, I didn't bother to read any review nor the summary; I wasn't quite expecting this kind of story.
I gave "Snow, Glass, Apples" two stars out of five, and that's because the idea was great. If I had to write the summary, I would write:
Do you remember the sweet Snow White scared, running around in a wicked forest, and later on poisoned by her horrible stepmother, the Queen? Well, think again. Because the story has changed, and the Queen (while still being a witch) is a responsible woman that cares for her citizens. Snow White isn't the sweet princess you remember, but a 13-years-old blood-sucking monster that kills anyone who dares entering the forest. While she is not killing innocent human beings, she (probably) enjoys having sexual intercourses with seven short-and-hairy men. The Queen is decided to get rid of Snow White, while she also plans to marry a prince that's not as charming as we saw in the famous Disney's movie.
It's an awesome idea. This is the kind of story that I would re-read a thousand times, but being a short story, it didn't have much charm. I believe, if I don't write this review now, the only detail I will remember about this story is that it involves a kid having sex with way too many men (involving his own father). I understand that Gaiman was trying to dehumanize Snow White by turning her into a monster who's life turns around blood, sex and murders. But still, a 6-years-old having any type of sexual relationship grosses me out (specially if it's with his father). It is possible that I didn't get to enjoy this story because of all the scenes involving underage sex or rape. 
I would like to write about the Queen as well, but I really don't know what to say about her. I read her as some kind of Mary Sue: she was a witch, she wasn't innocent, she wanted to kill a 6-years old (monster? vampire?) little girl. But still, she cared for her citizens and everything she did, she did it "because she was the Queen." I see the real woman isn't a Mary Sue, but she is obsessed with the idea of being the perfect Queen, but that turns her too good for me to enjoy the character. (I wonder if other readers had the same feeling, or is it just me?)
Besides the parts I didn't enjoy in the plot, I would like to be Captain Obvious and say that Neil Gaiman's writing was as good as always (maybe not as good as in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was perfect) and it did not disappoint me. If he would re-write this to be a long-story, I would most certainly read it - but the plot is too rich to fit into a short story! Reading it felt like being in a ever-lasting maze of words: I just read a few pages, but I got too much information to process. 

If you've read this story, please let me know your thoughts on the Queen in the comments! :)

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