Friday, August 13, 2010

A Review of 'Mirror, Mirror' by Gregory Maguire

“The year is 1502, and seven-year-old Bianca de Nevada lives perched high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria at Montefiore, the farm of her beloved father, Don Vicente. But one day a noble entourage makes its way up the winding slopes to the farm—and the world comes to Monefiore. In the presence of Cesare Borgia and his sister, the lovely and vain Lucrezia—decadent children of a wicked pope—no one can claim innocence for very long. When Borgia sends Don Vicente on a years-long-quest, he leaves Bianca under the care—so to speak—of Lucrezia. She plots a dire fate for the young girl in the woods below the farm, but in the dark forest salvation can be found as well… A lyrical work of stunning creative vision, Mirror Mirror, gives fresh life to the classic story of Snow White—and has a truth and beauty all it’s own.”

Yes! I have finally finished it!

This was an interesting read, because the characters seemed so real. In some cases, the characters were real. The Borgia’s actually existed once upon a time. Of course, they’ve been fictionalized to fit the needs of this book. I liked the sprinkling of Italian terms over the entire thing—though I know I probably botched the pronunciation up pretty horribly. I have probably disgraced the Italian language…

I like it when Gregory Maguire rewrites classic fairy tales that we become familiarized with as young children. Like the description from the back of the book (it’s above) says, he gives fresh life to it. He made it rather political (but most of his stories are, at least a little bit), as well as historical, but he stayed true to the bare-bones of the story, which was good.

I did not like how he kept switching perspectives unexpectedly. Whenever I started a chapter, I always started out confused because I didn’t know whose voice the words belonged too (well, expect for the dwarves’ chapters, because the titles of their chapters were the first words, so it continued below… if that makes any sense). Lucrezia Borgia had a more elegant language about her chapters (because she’s a more educated person than most of the other characters in this book). Vicente had similar language, but I always had to wait to see where this person was, because if they weren’t at Montefiore or nearby, it was probably Vicente. There was just no clear-cut indication. But I applaud Maguire for keeping me on my toes!

This was an exceptional book, but I have to say, I didn’t like it as much as ‘Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.’ However, I do suggest it! If you are sensitive to sexual content, I suggest that you don’t read this book. Lucrezia is just that kind of a person, unfortunately.

Thank you for reading!

—Jude Rosenberg

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