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White As Snow (Fairy Tales)
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Manufacturer: Tor Books
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813
EAN: 9780312875497
ISBN: 0312875495
Label: Tor Books
Manufacturer: Tor Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2001-12-07
Publisher: Tor Books
Studio: Tor Books

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Editorial Reviews:

After a hiatus of some years, the Fairy Tale series of novels by various authors, edited by Terri Windling, has made a welcome return. The first post-hiatus book is fantasist extraordinaire Tanith Lee's White as Snow, a retelling of Snow White darkly intertwined with the myth of Demeter and Persephone. If you're familiar with both Lee, winner of the August Derleth Award and several World Fantasy Awards, and Windling, also winner of several World Fantasy Awards, and the premier fantasy editor of modern times, then you would expect White as Snow to be a terrific novel. And you would be right.

In an alternate-history medieval Europe, the noble maiden Arpazia, raised in an isolated castle, finds herself the captive of the conquering general-king Draco. The only remnant of her former life is an exotic glass mirror possessed of witchy powers. She feels no connection to Coira, daughter of her forced marriage to the brutal Draco. She becomes the lover of a woodsman, Klytemno, who embodies the divine Hunter King in pagan rituals. Then Klytemno requires her to send her black-haired, snow-pale daughter Coira into the woods as a sacrifice.... --Cynthia Ward


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: This is Definitely NOT Walt Disney's Snow White!
Comment: "Once Upon a Time, in winter, there was a mirror." And this mirror was a gift to 14-year-old Arpazia, the King's daughter. But when the brutal Draco conquered all the land, Arpazia and the mirror were both taken over. But instead of killing her like most of the King's people, he took her with him. When she became pregnant after he brutally raped her, Draco decides that he must marry her and make Arpazia Queen of the new land. When a daughter was born, Arpazia wanted nothing to do with the child. She could barely bring herself to acknowledge the girl, named Candacis (or Coira).

First off, I have to say, I wanted to like this story. I like the idea that a simple tale is taken and made into a darker story. The Book of Lost Things used that very same idea and I loved it. But White as Snow was just lacking something. Or maybe it wasn't that is was lacking, but that it contained TOO much. Not only was Tanith Lee retelling the Snow White tale, but she was trying to compare it to classic Greek Myth of Demetra and Persephone, where Persephone as the daughter was a younger "self" of Demetra. She also tries to parallel the story of Persephone being taken into the underworld by Hades. Then there is also the storyline of Arpazia joining in the pagan ceremonies with the wood's people. Oh....and finally she tries to equate the Seven Drawfs with the Seven Deadly Sins. What comes out of all these metaphors and parallels is just one big jumbled mess.

And even if the storyline was a little more clear cut, the characters are such lifeless creatures that I just wanted to scream. Arpazia starts out being a victim. She is totally justified in her hate of the King and even her reasons for not wanting to be around her daughter. But once you start feeling a little sympathy for her, Lee just turns her into a complete loon. And Coira is such a boring character. She is completely without emotion. When her own mother pays someone to kill her, does she get angry or resentful? No. Life sucks. That's it. Nothing you can do to change your destiny. Coira was little like a goth in that fashion. "The whole world was against me, and I guess I just have to suffer for it." The guard took the pouch, examined it, and let them into Hell's mansion. This was like life, too. You must even pay to be abused, as you were punished for being hurt. Sheesh. It really got on my nerves.

Normally I would love a retelling of a known fairy tale that turns a dwarf named Stormy into the romantic lead, and the handsome prince into the king of Hell, who just happens to be a crazed, sex-obsessed, narcissistic necrophiliac. (Yep, Lee really does go there!) But this book just left me cold. I think part of the problem is that a lot of Lee's writing in this book is stream of consciousness. Something that I'm not fond of to begin with. Top that with characters that I just plain hated and you've got a book that did less than nothing for me. And I so wanted to like it, but White as Snow was such a struggle for me to read. Better luck next time, I guess! I would still like to try another in this series. Let's hope that it's just Snow White that gives me to the Blues!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Who doesn't love Snow White?
Comment: Tanith Lee is an inspiration to authors and fairy tale fans alike. She's pioneered the dark fairy tale genre. As an author, I found her own version of an archetypal fairy tale nightmarishily delicious. Lee rocks.
Amber LaShea Holmes
Snow White on Acid: Nine Fantastical Nightmares

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Depressing but well written
Comment: Certainly the writing is extraordinary, the way Lee handles language is rare and beautiful, and the story was certainly compelling if disturbing. I came out of the book feeling depressed about humanity. Everyone in the book is on survival mode and this does not bring out the best in them. You see the darkest side of humankind, which, as we all know, can be horrendous, something that I don't need to see more of in this day and age. This is not a world I would ever want to be part of but her psycholgical insight into the people is dead on and probably what one would find with people in their situations. It took me a few days to recuperate from the sadness I felt after reading the book (granted, I have depression issues anyway, so probably not a good choice for me)

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: one of the best you will ever read
Comment: To say the least, I am very skeptical in trusting the ratings on Amazon. SImply, everyone's opinion varies greatly- your all-time favorite book will get a 2, or a book you hate will get a 5. Now, I jot down the titles I'm interested in, go to the nearest Borders and review a few pages. It's better than buying a book and being disappointed. I leave 5 stars, because this fantasy is one of the most lush, eloquently and uniquely written book I have seen in a long time. It is also one of the most dark, intense and slightly macabre books I've read...if not perhaps, THE most fantastically macabre book ever. This is not for the fainthearted. (Spoiler) There is one rape scene- I hate reading and watching anything to do with it. Ever watch the movie, General's Daughter? I almost stopped watching it, but without that extremely prolonged scene (it seemed to me) it would not have been the movie it was. The same goes for this book. To quote Tim Curry in Legend, "What is light without darkness?" If you are familiar with the REAL Brothers Grimm fairy tales (meant for adults) and appreciate their value, then you may be interested in this book. Stunning and marvelous.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: White as Snow, Dumb as Dirt
Comment: Where do I even start with this book?

Like another reviewer, I must confess I did not read this book all the way through. I just could not force myself to do it. I got about a 1/3 of the way through, read the last five pages, and went "I am not slogging through this just to get an ending like that." My time is just more valuable than that.

I've come to expect a lot of dark, twisted content and sex from this series of books (The Fairy Tale Series). As Terri Windling says in the foreword, these books are trying to "reclaim" fairy tales from children. Meaning they are trying to make them "adult." The easiest way to do that is add some sex and blood. Fine. I get that. I've seen it in other fairy tale retellings (Deerskin, a retelling of Donkeyskin comes to mind) and have had no problem with it.

This book started off so well. Yes, there was a lot of dark, twisted content. There was blood. There was sex. There was rape. But if felt necessary to build the characters, not just gratuitous. I was actually intrigued.

Then we got blindsided by some Christian mythology. Okay... sure. I'll go along with that. Maybe the author is going somewhere with it. Then some Greek mythology, specifically the Persephone/Demeter myth. That's a little much. Then we get some Pagan myths. Right. By the time I stopped, I felt like I was reading a story trying to combine as many world cultures as it could rather than Snow White.

In addition, the symbolism was just too much. I don't usually get symbolism. Most of the times I'm the one trying to figure out what the author meant. During parts this book, I felt like I was being beaten with the symbolism stick every. single. paragraph. "Too much" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Finally, we get to the characters. What started out as fairly interesting evil Queen with lots of justification basically dissolved in a very bland, uninteresting stereotype who spent most of the first part of the book blankly cruising through life. I couldn't tell you much about "Snow White" because in the 105pgs that I read, "Snow White" shows up twice (and is referred to maybe another 1/2 a dozen times). I'm sorry, but if reading a retelling of "Snow White," I want to read a book about - GASP! - Snow White. If I want to read about the evil Queen, then I'll pick up a book about the evil Queen.

In conclusion, avoid this book. It's not good. It's deliberately obscure and tries to do too much with too little. At times you'll wonder if you are even reading a book about Snow White. Go spend your money on something else. I gave it 2 stars because for the first 50 pages, I actually cared what happened.


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