Snow White and Rose Red (Patricia C. Wrede) 2*

Sorry, this book just isn’t good. I had high expectations that Wrede would take her vibrant storytelling to darker depths. Alas, no. Disappointments all around.

Wrede experiments with Elizabethan dialogue, as in “An thou dost venture into the wood, be ware of the border of Faerie.” The narrative is modern, so the reader must shift in and out of Elizabethan English.

As to dark depths, Blanche and Rosamund should be Blanche and Blanche because they are both bloodless and boring. I hate it when writers go pious; danger is best from within. The modern retellings of Little Red Riding Hood are my favorite. They vary widely, but each has the innocent, the red garment, and the dark. The grandmother may be a crone or a matriarch, the cottage can be a condo or a palace, but at the heart of each tale is the luminous girl in blazing red. Red, and snow, and danger.

Angela Carter’s werewolf stories told it best:

Children do not stay young for long in this savage country.

The last things the old lady saw in all this world was a young man, eyes like cinders, naked as a stone, approaching her bed.

The girl burst out laughing; she knew she was nobody’s meat.

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