Snow is an enchanting tale for lovers of fairytales and dystopian settings.
This retelling of the classic story of Snow White is no fairytale.
Set in future New Zealand, in a world where technology and electricity are no more, and permanent cloud cover has caused an eternal winter, Snow’s life and circumstances are as harsh as the landscape around her. The bare bones of the original tale are there, including the evil stepmother, the hunter ordered to cut out Snow’s heart, the miners who give her shelter, and so on, but that is where the similarities end: Snow is a runaway and a survivor, fostering a young orphaned bear who becomes her constant companion, and trying to survive the frozen landscape. Her path eventually takes her to the city to make her case for the return of her father’s estate, now being held by her stepmother.
The concept of the story is gripping and puts in mind other dark retellings such as Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of The West by Gregory Maguire, a much darker novel than the musical retelling would suggest. However, unlike Wicked, which goes to some very dark places, Snow glosses over some of the more violent parts of her story, as appropriate for the young adult audience for which it is written.
The story is told from the point of view of Snow, a girl with little education who has spent much of her young life locked in a cell, and the writing style shows her rough colloquial style of speech. While this style did bring through Snow’s voice strongly, it was at times, difficult to follow, with some sentences written in such a roundabout way that it took several read-throughs to make sense of them. Despite this, the writing keeps readers sympathising strongly with Snow and wanting to know more, particularly with a number of unanswered questions about Snow’s circumstances and the broken world in general.
Unfortunately, the conclusion of the story came across rushed and almost like an afterthought rather than the climax and resolution of all of Snow’s conflict up to that point. It would have been far more satisfying to see the final events of the book fleshed out more for a stronger ending.
Gina Inverarity is a publishing editor and author of children’s books, with Snow being her first young adult novel. While there are parts of this story that show the hallmarks of an inexperienced author, Snow is an enchanting tale for lovers of fairytales and dystopian settings, and it would be worth looking out for future works by this promising author.
Reviewed by Kristin Stefanoff
Distributed by: Wakefield Press
Released: April 2020