“Welcome to the Festival of Roses, a world full of magic and romance. Every year during the festival each boy leaves a flower at the door of the girl he believes is the “fairest of them all.” Naturally, Snow White gets dozens of flowers, while her younger sister Rose Red is ignored. This year, though, things are different. For the first time, Rose Red has a mysterious admirer, and this year she isn’t the only one jealous of her sister’s beauty. But even though it’s a time of celebration, when girls begin disappearing, the festival turns deadly. With mysterious strangers arriving every day, an ominous marriage proposal, and magic and danger everywhere, Snow White and Rose Red will need to work together to survive the festival and solve the mystery.“
-from ‘Snow White and Rose Red’ on Goodreads
Personally I don’t feel this plot summary does it justice and makes the novella seem a lot more juvenile in tone than it actually is. I’m still too lazy to write my own summary.
At approximately ninety pages, it’s a quick read by anyone’s standards. That said, I don’t think it suffers for this. We seem to be given enough information about the characters so as to allow us to engage in the story and there’s enough room for a plot to develop quite successfully. If anything, I feel that some of the pacing in the early-mid sections could have been increased.
Perhaps the most successful aspect of this story is the way in which it is told from the points of view of both Snow White and of Rose Red which is probably the only way the reader could have fully engaged with the characters in such a short period. The girl’s emotions are, for the most part, realistic and suitable for situation. I would say that Snow White has some more typical ‘teen heroine’ moments which as less believable, such as when she gets to know the Huntsman, but as opposed to drawing away from the plot, these serve to build a contrast between her and Rose Red. The two girls are distinct in voice and in personality.
The plot-line itself, although I won’t go over it here, was better than expected. It was loosely based on the fairytale with the addition of some more magic. Again, as is unusual with this style of retellings, it somehow manages to build upon the story, adding a whole new twist, without veering too far away from the original. Something of this has got to do with the tone in which Lilly Fang writes. The book could easily be read around a campfire!
So why do I only want to give this book three stars (and a half, okay, it should get three and a half)? Something about it just jarred. I think it was probably the pacing issue. Although I enjoyed the key aspects of the novel, something about the whole just wasn’t quite right and that impacted on the reading experience as a whole. It was a lovely read, really enjoyable, and something I’d probably read again, but it wasn’t a great read. That said, I would recommend this book as it’s a modern retelling of a fairytale story that manages to retain the dark whimsy that such tales are rooted in.
If you would like to buy this book the kindle version is available from Amazon.