Re-imagining fairy tales can be a tricky business. Some authors go for the updated, girl power versions. Some go for the laughs. Others reach back closer to the originals – more brooding, dark, even scary.
I guess this one does a little of all of that, although it’s more magical and serious than wacky or dark. Rose and Snow are definitely girls with minds of their own. Their father’s missing and their mother’s struggling, so they wander off to all corners of a mysterious forest, discovering a library of things and stories, an underground house, a boy who raises mushrooms, and a funny little man who’s really kind of awful, demanding, and mean.
It’s not a race to the end. Things happen, and characters dip in and out of the story, but I never felt like I was being rushed or that the action was all there just to keep things ripping along. That might actually be one of the things I liked about it, though, since it gave me time to think about which fairy tales were being woven together instead of being smacked in the face with it.
In the end, Rose and Snow triumph, the funny little man is ruined by his greed, and Father returns. A happy ending, yes, but it felt more like a deserved happy ending than a story twisted to create one. Nicely done.
Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin