Series: Once Upon A Time
Publisher: Simon Pulse (2003)
Paperback (259 pages)
Also in this series: Water Song, Sunlight and Shadow, The Night Dance
Reading Challenges: Read 2014
In a tiny Welsh estate, a duke and duchess lived happily, lacking only a child -- or, more importantly, a son and heir to the estate. Childbirth ultimately proved fatal for the young duchess. After she died, the duke was dismayed to discover that he was not only a widower, but also father to a tiny baby girl. He vowed to begin afresh with a new wife, abandoning his daughter in search of elusive contentment.
Independent -- virtually ignored -- and finding only little animals and a lonely servant boy as her companions, Jessica is pale, lonely, and headstrong... and quick to learn that she has an enemy in her stepmother. "Snow," as she comes to be known, flees the estate to London and finds herself embraced by a band of urban outcasts. But her stepmother isn't finished with her, and if Jessica doesn't take control of her destiny, the wicked witch will certainly harness her youth -- and threaten her very life...
I have a soft spot for fairy tale retellings. I love to hear the tales imagined in different ways. The Once Upon a Time series is great at that. I love the way the stories don’t always follow the path you think they will… or even the setting. For example, I would never have thought to set Snow White in Victorian London and Wales. Or to have the stepmother be a crazy scientist.
The Fairytale Retold
This is easily recognizable as a Snow White retelling. First, you have the title: Snow. Then the evil stepmother who practices science-y magic. Snow runs away and ends up with some outcasts. The outcasts become her family. She is tricked and falls asleep. Then… well, I won’t spoil it for you.
It is great though. I love the Lonely Ones. They are the five outcasts who take the place of the seven dwarves: Chauncey, Mouser, Raven, Sparrow, and Cat. They are great. I love Cat and Raven the best but they are all pretty awesome.
Jessica is a bit of a hard character to like at first. Despite being told that she was raised in the kitchens among the servants, she comes off as a spoiled brat for a bit. That changes after her father remarries. Then there is the evil stepmother and Jessica is “punished” for something she really had no control over. Jessica becomes Snow. I liked her as Snow better than as Jessica. Snow seemed more of a real person to me. That may well be because there was a lot more character growth as Snow than as Jessica.
Some of my Favorite Quotes:
A great retelling of Snow White. I really like the ending. It wasn’t totally expected. Yes, parts of it were because it is Snow White and she has to meet her prince. But the very end has a nice twist.