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Review of Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake | What YA Reading?

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[Twitter]
A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman who was dispatched to kill her.

I’m beginning to think that books based on movies are forever doomed. From last year’s Red Riding Hood to this new gothic fairy tale remake, these types of books are setting the bar excruciatingly low for their kind.

I want to begin this review by saying that I have not yet seen the Snow White and the Huntsman movie. I do plan to see it when it comes out on DVD I’ve actually heard great things about it, which is why I picked up the book in the first place. Unfortunately, the book sucks.

I mean, Blake’s writing is really good. Her gothic style is quite gripping, and her imagery is lovely. But what good is a finely crafted tool that writes empty messages?

The characterization in Snow White and the Huntsman is horribly poor. The only definitive qualities we are given to attribute to Snow—I’m calling her Snow despite the book’s lack of this apparent nickname—are her courage, her mysteriousness, and the fact that she slants her eyes when she’s angry. I would add her scrawny physique to this list (she’s been locked up in a tower for 10 years), but she apparently develops high endurance and stamina after escaping her prison, because she traipses through the Dark Forest for days and fights off huge monsters.

The Huntsman is no better. I don’t understand why Snow holds him in such high regards; it’s not like he has much going for him. Let’s review his qualities, shall we? He’s a drunk. He can track animals. Oh, and he’s saved Snow White’s life a few times. He’s also almost killed her, but that’s beyond the point, isn’t it?

Now, the evil queen—she’s something else. If Ravenna wants something, she makes every attempt to get it, paying no heed to the consequences of her actions. Her motivations are crystal clear, her cruel personality is well shaped, and she is most certainly Snow White and the Huntsman’s best developed character. I could have used a little less evil laughing, but I still believe that she is the highest point of this novel. And you know it’s a bad sign when I’m rooting for the bad guy.

Blake’s protagonists are not the only element of hers that fell flat; her plot was also very disappointing. I think that the reason I’m so angry about this is because it held so much promise. The ideas which she had to go on were amazing—I’m told that the movie’s plot is flawless—and I feel as though if she would have developed it just a bit more, Snow White and the Huntsman would have been that much better. Its measly 200 pages are certainly not enough to do it justice.

Did I mention the fact that Snow White and the Huntsman’s ending is awful? Because it is. Let me put you in context here: Blake has a bit of a love triangle going on between Snow, the Huntsman, and a certain childhood friend. Now, in the last chapter, Snow White clearly chooses which option she prefers. However, this option leaves (in a self-deprecating type way) and Snow just lets him go. She just lets him go without even telling him of her feelings for him. Where is that decided evil queen when you need her?

I’m giving Snow White and the Huntsman 2.9/5 stars. It had so much potential but failed to measure up to its expectations, lacking real characters, a decent ending, and the imaginative plot details trademarked by YA novels.

 

I’ll keep you posted,

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  1. Pingback: Review and Giveaway of 8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf | What YA Reading?

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