Synopsis: Every year the Princess School faces off with the witches at Grimm for the Maiden Games. Three years running the other school has won, but this year the princesses plan to take back the golden ball. The only problem is Snow White is too terrified to compete because her wicked stepmother is one of the judges. Will Snow be able to stand up to Malodora, or will she let her school and her friends down?
Cover: The artwork really is that, a drawing rather than a photograph, which lends it a cutesy and imaginary-world feel. The various elements used on the cover aren’t always cohesive or relevant, but it is very detailed and draws the eyes. (cover shown not the same)
Format: Something that hasn’t been common practice for some time, but is now making a comeback, is chapter headings. Each new section is given its own subtitle that hints toward what is to come in the next few pages.
Location: The story takes place in the unknown land where fairy tale characters live. The majority of the action takes place at the Princess School, at the dwarves’ cottage, or the pathway between the two.
Plot: The story is about how afraid Snow is to take part in the Maiden Games for fear of what her stepmother will do. Having not seen her stepmother since running away and also knowing that she is being watched through the magic mirror, Snow tries to overcome her fear for the sake of her friends.
Point of View: The story is told from the third-person perspectives of the four best friends, that of Snow White, Briar Rose, Ella, and Rapunzel. As this plotline is mostly about Snow’s fears, the story is mostly seen from her standpoint.
Theme: The message the author is trying to point out through Snow’s dilemma is the necessity of facing your fears. Not just because others want you to, but because it is debilitating in your own life.
Character Development: Snow is said by her friends to be always cheery, but her actions depict someone who is a paranoid fraidy cat. She has a tendency to run away from her problems over and over again, until the end when she suddenly decides not to be afraid, but to find sympathy for the person she fears most.
Romance: Rapunzel’s best friend Val, a Prince who attends the nearby Charm School, has a crush on Briar Rose. He asks about her or looks at her whenever he makes an appearance in the story. It is rather adorable until you realize that Rapunzel has an interest in Val herself and is a lead-up to the next story.
Personal Thoughts: I don’t recall what happened to Snow White’s father in other tales, I suppose I presumed he died or some such, but in this story Snow’s father is away at sea and Malodora cast a spell to keep him lost out there. I actually found this far more disturbing than the idea that he died, though I suppose that is because being an orphan is familiar due to it being the identical to Cinderella’s situation. If this novel was meant for an older audience and was much longer, I would have liked Snow’s father to play a bigger role and be trying to come home to his daughter. Snow also dreamed about her father, and it would be interesting if Snow could see things that are true in her dreams or in visions.
Quote: Snow couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that Malodora was watching her in her awful mirror… Sometimes Snow could swear she felt the sorceress’s icy fingers on her neck!
The Verdict: While I admit I am curious as to what happens next, I cannot say this is a book I would read to my (future) daughter at bedtime. Although I thought the filler-details had great potential for a novel, I did not feel the main plot was all that interesting. I may be biased due to never particularity liking Snow White, but this isn’t a book I would recommend.