Mirror Mirror on the Wall by Jen Calonita

Mirror Mirror on the Wall? Is this a great Snow White retelling of them all?

I have to admit I don’t read as many young adult books as I used to unless the plot is interesting enough to hook me in or if it’s a Disney Twisted Tale, because I mean I am twenty seven after all. Even then the Twisted Tale books can be a hit or miss. Was Mirror Mirror a hit or miss you ask? It actually was a hit for me. In my review I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of this book. The plot and the backstories of characters grab you and take you into the story, there are also shocking twists and turns. If you want to read past this paragraph and want to know the spoilers go ahead.

The Plot and Backstories

The plot was unique and different. If you pick up this Twisted Tale from the library or from a book store or order from Amazon, on the cover it says in cursive writing, What if the Evil Queen Poisoned the Prince? That alone had me sold. The beginning starts off with Snow in disguise wanting to take back her kingdom, she sees the prince on the ground with the poisoned apple. We flash back and forth between the past and the present to understand what’s going on. We also get to know more about the mirror and the prince. Snow White is the same gentle character we see in the beloved classic Disney film and fairytale, however she doesn’t passively sit by and wait to be rescued. She bands together with the dwarves and the subjects. We also find out the fate of Snow White’s parents which I won’t spoil that part you have to read that on your own.

The Characters

The characters were fleshed out more for me. We see Snow White do more than just run away and hide and wait to be rescued, she and the dwarves band together to stop the Queen and get others to join them. I like that we see Snow take more action, without her being the type of feminist that acts like she doesn’t need help especially from a man. Snow admits that she needs help and that she can’t do it alone. We get to know more about the prince how he experienced his own grief with losing his brother. The Evil Queen and Snow’s mother were sisters growing up and we see their backstories about them living with and fleeing their abusive father and living and working on a couple’s farm. We see where the Queen’s jealousy issues come from when the couple and others show a little bit more favoritism towards her sister and how shes more beautiful than she is. As much as I enjoyed reading the Queen’s backstory before she became queen, it was somewhat disappointing that it went into the sob story territory with her and her sister running from the abusive father. The Queen’s story seemed almost like a Once Upon a Time plot and the tired cliché of Disney making almost every villain sympathetic. Luckily it didn’t stay there she eventually just becomes greedy. The magic mirror was interesting, and we get a dark backstory about the mysterious object. I also wished when we went back to the prince being poisoned that it was dragged out a little bit more, all in all it was still great.

The Writing

Jen Calonita wrote this twisted tale book instead of Liz Braswell. I have to say I enjoyed Jen’s writing better than Liz’s. The writing is more descriptive. Jen is also no stranger to writing because she’s written fairytale books for children called The Fairytale Reform School series. Jen also has another Twisted Tale book coming out October 1st called Conceal Don’t Feel which is a frozen book. Here is a snippet of Mirror Mirror when the Queen as a young woman meets the mirror and discovers its power.

Ingrid placed her palm on the cold mirror and felt a surprising flush of pain shoot through her arm. But she didn’t let go. With her hand on the glass, she could see the journey of the mirror: it had been welded out of molten lava, cloaked figures reciting incantations around it as the glass was formed and cooled. She watched as a large tree in what was known in these parts as the Haunted Woods was chopped down, and an intricate frame with snakes and symbols was carved from its wood. The cloaked figures were careful with it. They hid it away in a cave in the darkest recesses of the forest, visiting from time to time to care for the mirror and commune with it. Their cloaked appearance made it hard for Ingrid to make out faces, but there were a lot of them, always standing around the mirror, chanting. On the ground, paths of fire spread from their feet to the wall on which the mirror hung.

Is it worth your time?

If you’re a fan of fairytales, fairytale retellings and Disney films, I recommend reading Mirror Mirror. I honestly wish Disney would answer our prayers and make some of these twisted tale books into the live action remakes instead of the actual remakes, but sadly I doubt that will happen. Even if you don’t feel like paying the Amazon price to buy it, it’s worth picking up from the library and reading at least once.