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Snow White and Rose Red

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THE FAIRY TALE SERIES — Created by Terri Windling — ONCE UPON A TIME... — ...fairy tales were written for young and old alike; it is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original violence, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight. — Patricia C. Wrede, the best-selling author of Caught In Crystal and ot THE FAIRY TALE SERIES — Created by Terri Windling — ONCE UPON A TIME... — ...fairy tales were written for young and old alike; it is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original violence, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight. — Patricia C. Wrede, the best-selling author of Caught In Crystal and other beloved fantasy novels, brings Snow White and Rose Red back to an adult audience, in this romantic and magical retelling set in the enchanted forests of England at the time of Queen Elizabeth. Tor Books is proud to present the latest offering in the Fairy Tale Series -- a growing library of beautifully-designed original novels by acclaimed writers of fantasy and horror, each retelling a classic tale such as Snow White and Rose Red, Briar Rose, and Tam Lin in interesting -- often startling -- new ways.

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THE FAIRY TALE SERIES — Created by Terri Windling — ONCE UPON A TIME... — ...fairy tales were written for young and old alike; it is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original violence, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight. — Patricia C. Wrede, the best-selling author of Caught In Crystal and ot THE FAIRY TALE SERIES — Created by Terri Windling — ONCE UPON A TIME... — ...fairy tales were written for young and old alike; it is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original violence, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight. — Patricia C. Wrede, the best-selling author of Caught In Crystal and other beloved fantasy novels, brings Snow White and Rose Red back to an adult audience, in this romantic and magical retelling set in the enchanted forests of England at the time of Queen Elizabeth. Tor Books is proud to present the latest offering in the Fairy Tale Series -- a growing library of beautifully-designed original novels by acclaimed writers of fantasy and horror, each retelling a classic tale such as Snow White and Rose Red, Briar Rose, and Tam Lin in interesting -- often startling -- new ways.

30 review for Snow White and Rose Red

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Piper

    I love Patricia C. Wrede, so I had high hopes for this book, especially since it takes on a fairy tale that has not been retold to death. Apparently this was one of her earliest works, and it shows. Set in Elizabethan England, the characters speak in the dialect of the time, and it usually comes off sounding stilted at best--especially against the not-Elizabethan descriptions of everything else, as well as occasional bursts of modern-day speech by the characters--and at the worst like something I love Patricia C. Wrede, so I had high hopes for this book, especially since it takes on a fairy tale that has not been retold to death. Apparently this was one of her earliest works, and it shows. Set in Elizabethan England, the characters speak in the dialect of the time, and it usually comes off sounding stilted at best--especially against the not-Elizabethan descriptions of everything else, as well as occasional bursts of modern-day speech by the characters--and at the worst like something a fourth-grader wrote. "Mother, hast thou the poultice? This gentleman haveth need." "Nay child!" etc. The dialogue was the first stumbling block but I kept trudging on, only to find other problems. The villains--a discontented fairy, a water spirit, and either a tree spirit or a troll, it's never entirely clear--are straight out of an early-90s Disney movie knockoff, and I kept picturing them as poorly drawn cartoons. Their motives are never really explained, but since they're evil I suppose their aspiration is just to be evil and do harm to the good people/gain POWER OVER FAERIE. A few times it seemed like there wasn't enough time to write a scene, so things are moved along/explained not by the characters themselves but by the omniscient narrator. "By chance, the Widow, Rose and Blanche were gone from the cottage that day, so their existence was not discovered by the other two sets of magicians." Oh ok, thanks for that. I was really worried! (Plus: That the Widow never earns a name is annoying. She has a last name, which I've forgotten, but for the most part she's referred to simply as "the Widow.") There's some romance, and I am pretty sure the book ends with a double wedding, considering there are two beautiful sisters AND two handsome, upstanding faerie princes as major characters. The romances are clumsily moved along via too-loud protestations and encouraging words that are not only part of the dialogue but also explained by that pesky narrator. "Blanche's sudden, uncharacteristic burst of feeling met with a puzzled glance from Hugh, an exchange not lost on the Widow." There are many similar gestures and expressions that are carefully described as to make abundantly clear that some people are in LOVE, some people are SHIFTY, etc. People pull wicked faces while other people's backs are conveniently turned to reach for a spell ingredient. People close their eyes during a spell and so can't see that their two evil henchmen are exchanging knowing glances. And, in one especially annoying, useless scene, the prince notices that one of the Queen's 14 ladies in waiting has a brief expression of triumph/malice when the Queen is delivering some bad news. Even though he's been astute enough to notice this millisecond-long smile, the narrator tells us that he's too busy to deal with it and so forgets about it immediately. By the final third of the book, I was so bored that I couldn't finish. I knew the evil people were about to make one last push to finish their evilness, and that the good people were probably going to have a few stressful moments before they came out on top, but I just didn't care about any of them. I was excited that this book was reprinted, but IMO it does nothing to further Wrede's catalog. Her short stories, Enchanted Forest books and Cecilia books are much better than this Robin McKinley wannabe, and I hope that this was no one's first Wrede experience. As a side note, this book originally appeared in Terri Windling's fairy tale series. Most of the other titles are out of print (fine by me, if they're like this one) with the exception of Briar Rose, Jane Yolen's excellent, haunting retelling of the Holocaust and Sleeping Beauty.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Once upon a time Patricia Wrede wrote a new take on an old fairy-tale. But this wasn't an ordinary modern re-imagining, for there was no contemporary slang and precious little fracturing. The story starred a pair of mortal sisters; one adventurous, one pragmatic. For love interests there were a pair of half-mortal brothers similarly mirrored. Opposing the heroes emerged a cabal of bumbling magical creatures led by an elitist lady-in-waiting. She was intent on ruining everyone's fun and building Once upon a time Patricia Wrede wrote a new take on an old fairy-tale. But this wasn't an ordinary modern re-imagining, for there was no contemporary slang and precious little fracturing. The story starred a pair of mortal sisters; one adventurous, one pragmatic. For love interests there were a pair of half-mortal brothers similarly mirrored. Opposing the heroes emerged a cabal of bumbling magical creatures led by an elitist lady-in-waiting. She was intent on ruining everyone's fun and building a wall between the fairy and the mortal worlds. Think of her scheme as a plotting mash-up of Voldemort, Malvolio and Donald Trump. Wrede set her story in Elizabethan England and structured it like a Shakespearean comedy with long conversations typically featuring three or more interlocutors. The threats rarely felt too perilous and the action was built around characters spying on one another and well-laid plans colliding in coincidental ways. Even the language exuded more of a Shakespearean than Brothers Grimm style. Ultimately, this is light entertainment with some peculiar twists. Call it amusingly ever after. Edited 9-1-2017

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This is definitely not Disney's Snow White. True, there is no sex or bad language, and violence is only discussed, not really depicted, but that's really where the similarities end. In Patricia C. Wrede's version of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red are the daughters of a poor widow who ekes out a living by making herbal remedies to sell to the townsfolk. They live next to a forest, on the edge of the border of Faerie, in the Elizabethan era of England. Living in the village of Mor This is definitely not Disney's Snow White. True, there is no sex or bad language, and violence is only discussed, not really depicted, but that's really where the similarities end. In Patricia C. Wrede's version of the classic fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red are the daughters of a poor widow who ekes out a living by making herbal remedies to sell to the townsfolk. They live next to a forest, on the edge of the border of Faerie, in the Elizabethan era of England. Living in the village of Mortlak are two sorcerers whom the girls accidentally spy casting a spell that unwittingly traps the spirit of the younger son of the Queen of Faerie in first a lamp and then a crystal. The Queen's sons are half human/half faerie, and the human half slowly transforms into a bear which is then cast out into the human world. The Queen's older son, John, sneaks out of Faerie in search of a way to save his brother, Hugh, meanwhile a trio of human-hating faeries plots to steal the lamp and crystal and break the bonds holding Faerie to the mortal world. The language is fabulous--very much how I think Elizabethan English might have sounded. Reading dialogue in the novel is like reading Shakespeare (and I mean that in a good way!), especially toward the end when the Puck-like character of Robin is introduced. It's delightful and really adds to the atmosphere of the story and setting. So for Reader's Advisors, the main doorways are story and language. It's billed as a YA book, but adults will love it just as much--if not more--than teens.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ewan Watson

    Patricia Wrede is generally a fantastic writer, but this is quite a bit different from her usual work. The mix of a fairy tale and an Elizabethan historical fantasy are an interesting experiment that I think are even better than her usual genre. For those who love the fairy tale in its traditional form, this is a fabulous gift, the ablility to find "another fairy tale". Most of us have exhausted the fairy tale genre and, sadly, there is only a set amount of authentic fairy tale out there. Snow Patricia Wrede is generally a fantastic writer, but this is quite a bit different from her usual work. The mix of a fairy tale and an Elizabethan historical fantasy are an interesting experiment that I think are even better than her usual genre. For those who love the fairy tale in its traditional form, this is a fabulous gift, the ablility to find "another fairy tale". Most of us have exhausted the fairy tale genre and, sadly, there is only a set amount of authentic fairy tale out there. Snow White and the Red Rose is a fabulous example of a modern writer trying to dilute the essence of the fairy tale and make it into a modern book form. It is clear from reading this that Wrede has spent very long periods contemplating the essential elements of the fairy tale and wrote this tale as a sort of "homage" which may be lost on the general reader but rings loud and clear for fans of fairy tales(myself included). Highly recommended for any fan of Fairy Tales or for the young at heart.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I don't have that many skeletons in my closet, but the ones that are there are all wearing Renaissance Faire costumes and this book is largely to blame. If I gave stars based on how much I loved a book when I was 15 this one would get 10. And it's holding up well -- I don't have to feel faintly embarrassed for my former self. PCW did a good job with the language -- I appreciate it more now than I did as a teenager, especially since it's so rare that anyone even bothers to try. She did her histor I don't have that many skeletons in my closet, but the ones that are there are all wearing Renaissance Faire costumes and this book is largely to blame. If I gave stars based on how much I loved a book when I was 15 this one would get 10. And it's holding up well -- I don't have to feel faintly embarrassed for my former self. PCW did a good job with the language -- I appreciate it more now than I did as a teenager, especially since it's so rare that anyone even bothers to try. She did her historical homework and blended history and fairy tale seamlessly. I started off giving this book four stars because I was trying to be temperate and mature. But I'm upping it because nowhere does she claim that witches were burned. So for lovely language, and lovely story-telling, and good history, and especially for dealing accurately with pre-modern witchcraft, I'm giving this book five stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Delores

    I thought the pros were well done. It took me a little while to understand all of the conversations as the characters speak in Elizabethan England's English. I was disappointed in the character development. I didn't get to know the characters or how their relationships developed. I felt that they were kind of stagnant - not much character growth to speak of.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide/Novelly Yours)

    This was such a fun read and surprisingly quick! Thanks to Alyssa for suggesting this one for an OtSP read! :) Well. The best thing about this for me was the personalities. I loved the characters and thinking back on it (well, after having just finished), they're what really stand out for me. I LOVED every single character and the ending was just perfect. Well, this also takes place in an Elizabethan sort of setting and the language matches soooo. It was a bit much for me at times. Like, if I wa This was such a fun read and surprisingly quick! Thanks to Alyssa for suggesting this one for an OtSP read! :) Well. The best thing about this for me was the personalities. I loved the characters and thinking back on it (well, after having just finished), they're what really stand out for me. I LOVED every single character and the ending was just perfect. Well, this also takes place in an Elizabethan sort of setting and the language matches soooo. It was a bit much for me at times. Like, if I wasn't reading this with Alyssa & Amy, I probably would have easily been scared away by the language alone (thee! thou! eek!) but I started to get the hang of it. Sometimes I felt less scholarly. Sometimes I felt more scholarly. Sometimes I just got lost in the story and the language wasn't as apparent BUT definitely something for new readers to be aware of! A fun retelling too. I'm not as familiar with the original tale -- I think I read way back in the day when I was a kid but forgot a lot about it -- so it was fun to read it as a retelling that still felt very close to the original tale. Mini-review posted on The Book Addict's Guide 1/14/15: I read SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED with Alyssa & Amy for our December On the Same Page read (it’s one of Alyssa’s favorites) and after not liking Amy’s favorite, I was terrified. I got a couple pages into the book and was like, “Holy cow. That’s a lot of thee & thou & thy.” But as I read on, it really wasn’t as daunting as it first seemed. I’m not used to the language so yes, it did affect my read a little bit because I had to concentrate more, but overall, the book was very enjoyable! SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED is actually one fairy tale I remember reading as a kid (at least I THINK I read the original…) and it stuck out in my mind. I really enjoyed Patricia C. Wrede’s adaptation and how she changed the tale in little ways to make it her own story and these changes actually really helped me grow attached to the book too. I’m notoriously hesitant about fairy books but after falling in love with books like Heir of Fire and A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’m definitely coming around so I was so happy to see that not only was it something that I wasn’t afraid of in SWRR but also something that I enjoyed. I loved the characters and they totally made the book for me. They were SO much fun with so much personality. I’m glad I was pushed to read this one with Alyssa & Amy because I would not have done it without them!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicole R

    There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses.... Rosamund and Blanche are the daughters of a poor widow in a small town in Elizabethan England; the three of them gather herbs from the woods to make remedies for the citizens of Mortlak. They are extremely careful when in the woods, for it contains the ever shifting border of faerie, a border they are wary of but cross ov There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses.... Rosamund and Blanche are the daughters of a poor widow in a small town in Elizabethan England; the three of them gather herbs from the woods to make remedies for the citizens of Mortlak. They are extremely careful when in the woods, for it contains the ever shifting border of faerie, a border they are wary of but cross over occasionally while protected with herbs and small charms. The Queen of faerie has two half-mortal sons, one who resides mainly in faerie (Hugh) and the other who wanders freely the land of mortals (John). When the favored son of the Queen, Hugh, has his faerie-essence stolen and is exiled from his home, John goes against his mothers wishes and follows his brother to save him. Soon, he comes across the Widow and her daughters and together they risk their lives to right the wrongs that have been done. This retelling of a classic German fairy tale weaves together fantasy, mystery, danger, and romance into a story that not only entertains but has a happily-ever-after ending. I really enjoyed the Wrede took liberties with the story, transforming the classic characters and introducing a few new one of her own while sticking to the main plot of the original tale - and to show you the parallels, she includes snip-its of the German version at the beginning of each chapter. The dialogue was also written in Elizabethan English which I have mixed feelings about: it added to the authentic feel of the story but the non-dialogue was written in modern day English and switching back and forth between the two was not always a smooth transition for the reader. Overall, a wonderful story that proves that sometime the Disney version of fairy tales aren't always the best; I for one would take an overprotective and loving mother with two headstrong teenage girls who sweep in and save the Prince any day over the docile female characters of the 1950's Disney who wait to be rescued - take charge ladies....and teach a moral at the same time :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    you know it's not a good book when all you can think is 'when is this going to end'! I had no expectations for this book, but the story really could have been good, but it just wasn't written in a very reader-friendly text. Part of my problem was the dialoge was in an Old English Vernancular and the narration was in modern day English. Doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but really it was just a little too random for me. And, the particular dialoge the writer chose to include was just ridicul you know it's not a good book when all you can think is 'when is this going to end'! I had no expectations for this book, but the story really could have been good, but it just wasn't written in a very reader-friendly text. Part of my problem was the dialoge was in an Old English Vernancular and the narration was in modern day English. Doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but really it was just a little too random for me. And, the particular dialoge the writer chose to include was just ridiculous at times. Next thought, why does the cover only picture one girl, when the story is Snow White and Rose Red?!?!?? The entire time I was reading this, that drove me crazy. Maybe there is some deep meaning in the objects the girl is holding, i.e. the apples???? But, still it's a no for me! This is harsh, but I can't think of anyone I would recommend this to. It's just a waste of time, and 2 stars is probably being generous.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Moira Russell

    A beautifully retold tale, if at times a little overelaborate. The Elizabethan setting and especially dialect are very well-done. Not a book to rush through -- you are almost forced to reread sentences to savour nearly every word. Robin is the best character -- everyone else is a little flat, and the Faerie characters are slightly cliched (beautiful, icy, heartless, cold, unearthly, &c &c). I liked the relationship between the two sisters, and the mother and her two daughters, very much. A beautifully retold tale, if at times a little overelaborate. The Elizabethan setting and especially dialect are very well-done. Not a book to rush through -- you are almost forced to reread sentences to savour nearly every word. Robin is the best character -- everyone else is a little flat, and the Faerie characters are slightly cliched (beautiful, icy, heartless, cold, unearthly, &c &c). I liked the relationship between the two sisters, and the mother and her two daughters, very much. The Fairy Tale series is great (the first one I read in it was the incomparable Tam Lin) and I especially liked how excerpts from the original fairy tale stand as epigraphs to each chapter of this novel. I think this is only the second or so book I've read by Wrede -- I've heard very good things about the Dragon and Sorcery series. -- The Thirteenth Child, though, OY.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

    I didn't make it past the first chapter. I was so disappointed because I have loved other works by Wrede. I just couldn't get past the dialogue. First it was "thees and thous" in one paragraph and then "you and yours" in the next! Stick to one or the other.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Fun little story with an interesting take on the world of "fairie." I loved the relationships between the sisters and their mother. I also really enjoyed the Elizabethan dialect - it took a couple of chapters for me to get into it, but I quickly found my footing in the language and it was a wonderful addition to the setting. Overall, a really great fairy tale re-telling. When I first read this book, I made the mistake of completely missing the point that this fairy tale was being placed in a pseu Fun little story with an interesting take on the world of "fairie." I loved the relationships between the sisters and their mother. I also really enjoyed the Elizabethan dialect - it took a couple of chapters for me to get into it, but I quickly found my footing in the language and it was a wonderful addition to the setting. Overall, a really great fairy tale re-telling. When I first read this book, I made the mistake of completely missing the point that this fairy tale was being placed in a pseudo-historical story. I spent a large portion of it being exasperated that Wrede had concocted such lame antagonists (with dumb names, which I thought quite unlike her - she usually uses and creates wonderful names). Once I made the connection that there was real history involved, I found it fascinating. I think she did a wonderful job blending genres and creating a plausible place in history for this tale.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenne

    I enjoyed this retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and I liked how the author set the book in Elizabethan times. However, I wish she had stuck a little more closely to the original story, when it came to the girls involvement with the dwarf. In the fairy tale, Snow White uses her sissors to cut off the dwarf's beard to rescue him from the tree and the fish. In this tale it is a whole new character, the brother of the enchanted bear, who does the rescuing. One of the nice things about this parti I enjoyed this retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and I liked how the author set the book in Elizabethan times. However, I wish she had stuck a little more closely to the original story, when it came to the girls involvement with the dwarf. In the fairy tale, Snow White uses her sissors to cut off the dwarf's beard to rescue him from the tree and the fish. In this tale it is a whole new character, the brother of the enchanted bear, who does the rescuing. One of the nice things about this particular fairy tale was the sisters cleverness and independence, a thing not often seen in fairy tales. Usually we read about damsels in distress and knights or princes who save the day not clever women who save the prince. Still, it was an enjoyable read and very cleverly done.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I kept expecting all of the villagers to die in bloody massacres or profane rituals and was pleasantly disappointed. This was such a *cozy* fairy tale I didn't know what to do with it but I want to cuddle it forever. There was still plenty of risk and danger and curses and tricksy Fae to keep things interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat B.

    I've always loved the story of Snow White and Rose Red, so when I came across this book, I was ecstatic. It started out slowly, and I was a little put off by the "thee's" and "thou's," but the further I got into this book, the more I was drawn into the story. Picture a quiet village: common people terrified of magic, a duo of sorcerers longing for power, a trio of faeries who hate mortals, two half-breed boys cursed and exiled from their mother's lands, and the Widow Arden and her daughters caugh I've always loved the story of Snow White and Rose Red, so when I came across this book, I was ecstatic. It started out slowly, and I was a little put off by the "thee's" and "thou's," but the further I got into this book, the more I was drawn into the story. Picture a quiet village: common people terrified of magic, a duo of sorcerers longing for power, a trio of faeries who hate mortals, two half-breed boys cursed and exiled from their mother's lands, and the Widow Arden and her daughters caught up in the middle of it all, just trying to save their new friends and avoid the suspicious townspeople's gaze. That is this book. The only problem is that if you are at all familiar with the tale of Snow White and Rose Red, you will know what basically will happen, but the rewritten plot will keep you from figuring out everything before it is time. This is probably one of my all time favorite fairytale retellings, and the ending was so sweet! Snow White and Rose Red 2.0.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I love retold fairy tales, and I love how this one was set in Elizabethan England as opposed to a fantasy realm. The magic was herb magic, something more suited to the setting than the usual kind you get in fairytales. If you're looking for some fairytale romance this isn't the book you're looking for; while it is clear that the girls fancy the two brothers, there is no physical contact between them, not even hand holding. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book, especially in relation to fairytal I love retold fairy tales, and I love how this one was set in Elizabethan England as opposed to a fantasy realm. The magic was herb magic, something more suited to the setting than the usual kind you get in fairytales. If you're looking for some fairytale romance this isn't the book you're looking for; while it is clear that the girls fancy the two brothers, there is no physical contact between them, not even hand holding. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book, especially in relation to fairytale retellings, but it lost my interest about halfway through. Even so, it's uniqueness and the fact that it was well written sustain it and I would suggest it to someone.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Extremely clever rework of the Grimm tale of Snow White And Rose Red. It uses a lot of the frame tale but not in completely obvious ways, reworking it all into something fresh and smooth. Setting it in Elizabethan England was especially interesting. Of course, the language took a bit to get used to but it is far simpler than Shakespeare and it doesn't read as try-hard at all. It still flows naturally so long as you keep remembering that "an" means "if". The layers of the story manage to form som Extremely clever rework of the Grimm tale of Snow White And Rose Red. It uses a lot of the frame tale but not in completely obvious ways, reworking it all into something fresh and smooth. Setting it in Elizabethan England was especially interesting. Of course, the language took a bit to get used to but it is far simpler than Shakespeare and it doesn't read as try-hard at all. It still flows naturally so long as you keep remembering that "an" means "if". The layers of the story manage to form some tension and push-pull while the characters contribute to that. Robin is a total little shit and I love it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    While not a terrible book, it definitely could have been better. My biggest complaint was that this book just seemed to drag. The beginning was ok but the middle was sooooooooooo slooooooooooooooow. I had a hard time making myself pick it up and finish it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christeen

    Found this to be fun -- it combined two of my favorite things: Snow White and Rose Red, and John Dee. Interesting re-telling!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha Vohn

    I truly wanted to like this book, especially after having just visited the Black Forest in Germany and feeling in a faery tale mood. I've found with this particular series (which markets itself as Faery Tales intended for adults) that, as a reader, you're bound to get one of two things: either a salacious, shocking adaptation of a faery tale (White as Snow, Fitcher's Brides; both very good if you can stomach sexual deviance) or a bland snore-fest (Tam Lin, egads). Jane Yolen's Sleeping Beauty ad I truly wanted to like this book, especially after having just visited the Black Forest in Germany and feeling in a faery tale mood. I've found with this particular series (which markets itself as Faery Tales intended for adults) that, as a reader, you're bound to get one of two things: either a salacious, shocking adaptation of a faery tale (White as Snow, Fitcher's Brides; both very good if you can stomach sexual deviance) or a bland snore-fest (Tam Lin, egads). Jane Yolen's Sleeping Beauty adaptation has been the exception to the rule, and excellent. Sadly, Snow White and Rose Red falls into the snore-fest category, which I hoped would be reserved for Tam Lin. It began promising enough, with two maidens living in a mysterious wood with their widowed mother under the threat of being accused of witchcraft because of their knowledge of herbal healing. I was intrigued! And it was written beautifully. However, the novel soon took a turn into the YA fantasy realm of all things faery, involved sad, bumbling sorcerers with a spell gone awry, and focused WAY too much on the heroines trying to come up with a spell to help a shape-shifting prince overcome his enchantment. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that the plot sounds way more interesting than it actually is. But that's because it had so much potential to be great, and it falls flat on its face. All of the marvelous directions that Wrede could have taken, the complexities that she could have added to it, are absent. The characters are painfully flat; we never discover what is motivating are villains beyond the blind hunger for power ("same thing we do every night, Pinky"), the romance between the two brothers and two sisters reads like a middle schooler's spiral notebook, and the cast as a whole comes off as a group of formulaic, cookie cutter characters straight out of a "How to Write a Faery Tale" manual. Hence, we never care about any of them, because they are so painfully one dimensional. And the incorporation of the Land of Faerie adds no real drama or danger beyond the beginning of the novel when the two girls are trapped in its borders and, therefore, Faerie becomes a frustration because it disrupts the flow of the novel and seems to fulfill no purpose. At one point, I was so bored and agitated that I pulled my Grimms off the shelf and read the original tale. Granted, Wrede didn't have a lot to work with. But I can't help but think of how authors like Angela Carter took tales with shapeshifting and made such powerful statements with them. Wrede could have had an intense, paranormal romance on her hands, to rival a Beauty and the Beast, if she had only focused on the right aspects of the original tale AND if she had only done what this novel series promises, which is adaptations intended for adults. All the ingredients were there! Wrede had the writing talent for a fantastic dark, Gothic, romantic novel, and she settled for a sterile, safe romp in faerie land.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melanti

    This book was a bit ... disjointed? Not disjointed in plot, but disjointed in language. All the dialog is in Elizabethan English, while the narration is all in modern English. While I like Shakespeare and other authors/playwrights of that time period, I just couldn't get into this one. As soon as I would catch the rhythm of the language in a long couple lines of dialog, there would be a break in it with a "she said" or "they walked out the door" etc. It broke the illusion of the language and mad This book was a bit ... disjointed? Not disjointed in plot, but disjointed in language. All the dialog is in Elizabethan English, while the narration is all in modern English. While I like Shakespeare and other authors/playwrights of that time period, I just couldn't get into this one. As soon as I would catch the rhythm of the language in a long couple lines of dialog, there would be a break in it with a "she said" or "they walked out the door" etc. It broke the illusion of the language and made it modern again. Over and over again this happened through the entire book. While the story was okay, what I read books for is the language used. I couldn't appreciate the Elizabethan language fully due to the modern interludes, and I couldn't appreciate the modern language fully due to the Elizabethan interludes. I think switching back and forth between the two dialects as she did was a great disservice to both. I think I would have liked it better if it had been written fully in one dialect or the other.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Another edition in the Fairy Tale series edited by Terry Winding. Set in Elizabethan England, Snow White and Rose Red are sisters living near a small village near the Thames. Their mother is a wise woman who keeps a low profile to avoid any accusation of witchcraft. She and her daughters become entangled in Faerie matters... In a bit of sorcery gone awry, Hugh the half mortal son of the Faerie Queen is robbed of his faerie essence and turned into a bear. Blanche, Rosamond and their mother along w Another edition in the Fairy Tale series edited by Terry Winding. Set in Elizabethan England, Snow White and Rose Red are sisters living near a small village near the Thames. Their mother is a wise woman who keeps a low profile to avoid any accusation of witchcraft. She and her daughters become entangled in Faerie matters... In a bit of sorcery gone awry, Hugh the half mortal son of the Faerie Queen is robbed of his faerie essence and turned into a bear. Blanche, Rosamond and their mother along with John, Hugh's brother work against time to reverse the enspellment that threatens Hugh. The language is delicious and begs to be read aloud in some passages. Faerie and human court intrigue promise to ensnare them all and ensure failure keeping the story suspenseful. The cover is nice too, it seems that Blanche is looking past Hugh's bearlike appearance to the prince within.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Fantasy writer Patricia Wrede's has crafted a tale based on Grimms' fairy tale. (Incidentally, the Grimm brothers were uncles to my great grandmother.) As much as I enjoy this author, I felt some weakness that I believe was from the effort to use authentic Elizabethan words and phrases in the dialogue, but modern English in the narrative. It felt somewhat disjointed, almost like reading something where all the dialogue is in a foreign language. I can understand much of the language of Shakespear Fantasy writer Patricia Wrede's has crafted a tale based on Grimms' fairy tale. (Incidentally, the Grimm brothers were uncles to my great grandmother.) As much as I enjoy this author, I felt some weakness that I believe was from the effort to use authentic Elizabethan words and phrases in the dialogue, but modern English in the narrative. It felt somewhat disjointed, almost like reading something where all the dialogue is in a foreign language. I can understand much of the language of Shakespeare, but the mental effort to go back and forth made the reading feel choppy. Then, occasionally, modern English or syntax would slip in, creating cognitive dissonance. I still enjoyed reading it to the end, but this isn't this author's best work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kari Chapman

    I couldn't really get into this book. The dialogue was written in Elizabethan English, which to a modern English speaker comes across as very stilted and overly formal. It would have been less historically accurate, but more easily accessible if it had been scaled back a bit to modern English with a hint of Elizabethan in it. Aside from that, the plot wasn't that good. We've got two sets of bad guys, apparent from their words and the hints of mustache twirling whenever they gather, but no reason I couldn't really get into this book. The dialogue was written in Elizabethan English, which to a modern English speaker comes across as very stilted and overly formal. It would have been less historically accurate, but more easily accessible if it had been scaled back a bit to modern English with a hint of Elizabethan in it. Aside from that, the plot wasn't that good. We've got two sets of bad guys, apparent from their words and the hints of mustache twirling whenever they gather, but no reason for their actions. I'm really not a fan of the idea of they're a bad guy because I need a villain. I made it about 10% before I gave up.

  25. 4 out of 5

    E.A.

    I love the Enchanted Forest series, so when I saw this book, I was really excited. The Fairy Tale of Snow White and Rose Red isn't done as often as many of the others and this take on it really held true to the fairy tale retelling tradition. I knew how the story was going to end but I had no idea how it was actually going to get there. I loved this book and look forward to reading it again in the future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marife

    I would not recommend this book. I was expecting more descriptions of the faerie world, more character build up. As this is written in Elizabethan English this was really hard to enjoy. Some chapters were interesting but i thought it was a waste of time to spend another day trying to decipher the events and conversations. Too sad. I was hoping a more interesting story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A decent fairy tale retelling, set in Elizabethan England, but not up to Wrede's usual standards. After the hysterically funny Dragons Quartet, I expected something more from this retelling. Yes, it fleshes out the story. Yes, her writing is neat and elegant. But there's no extra spark to the story to make it memorable. McKinley remains the finest fairy tale re-teller out there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I really enjoyed the contrast between the modern writing and the Elizabethan dialogue in this book. Why? Because I didn't notice it, most of the time. I like this story (I think I have read this book before, though I don't know when) and like how each chapter is tied into a paragraph from the original story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vida

    I was a bit disappointed with this book, actually. I had been expecting a more imaginative retelling from the author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. But (possibly unfair) expectations aside, this was a pleasant enough read. I know some people complained about the language but it wasn't as bad as Wuthering Heights, really. This one you get used to after a while.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I couldn't get into tis book AT ALL. The language was weird. ANd this is coming form someone who read "Pride and Prejiduce"... Which is barely understandable{but good!} I kind of just, stopped after a while. Sorry??

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