Friday, September 4, 2009

"Fairest of All" - A Snow White Novel from Disney & Serena Valentino

How on earth did I miss this?!

There's a new Snow White novel and this one is a treat for those of us who love both the tale and Disney's version.

"Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen" by Serena Valentino is a release from Disney Press and uses the Disney characters to tell the story - from the Queen's point of view. (If the author's name sounds familiar you're probably aware of the "Gloomcookie" comics and the "Nightmares & Fairy Tales" graphic novel series.)

If you're familiar with Disney's Snow White, you'll know that the Queen is one of the scariest Disney villains invented to date and yet this book is written from her point of view - as the protagonist.

Here's author Serena Valentino's description of what the book is about (from her BLOG):
Fairest of All is a story about grief and loss, it circles upon its self, revealing more with each revolution, much in the way we process grief each time it revisits. It is a story of a woman so overwrought by heartbreak and loss, so fearful of experiencing that sort of pain again that she closes her heart off for fear of perishing all together. It is also a tale of abuse, and the Queen's desire to break that cycle with her new family, but her own insecurities and loses send her reeling into the tempest she is most familiar and accustomed to. It is a bloody tale of a woman consumed by insecurity and the lure of a mysterious man in an enchanted mirror driving her to do things completely against her nature, and her struggle with how her grief and sorrow has transformed her into something completely alien even to herself. It is the story of the Wicked Queen, and who she was before, and who she longed to be before she was destroyed by her vanity.
And the official blurb from her WEBSITE:

Fairest of All is the story of the Wicked Queen, who she was before, and who she longed to be before she was destroyed by her vanity and the need to murder her daughter Snow White. It is a bloody tale of abuse, heartbreak, love and grief, and the lure of a mysterious man in an enchanted mirror. Beautifully written by Serena Valentino, author of Nightmares & Fairy Tales. Available in August 2009.

And here's a quote from 'Mouse House' reviewer Jim Hill:

This is half the charm of “Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen.” All of the Disney-inspired winks & nods that Ms. Valentino folds into this tale. By that I mean: The touchstones from the movie version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (i.e. The Magic Mirror. The Heartbox. The Huntsmen. Even that boat in the dungeon that the old crone uses as she’s sneaking away from the castle) are still part of the narrative. But this time around, these touchstones are each introduced in an unusual manner and then take on different meanings over the course of Serena’s story.

You can read the rest of the review HERE.

Serena has apparently been posting chapters to entice us into pre-ordering (Sorry Serena - I only just discovered the book!) so, to do my part to help promote her book (and more Snow White stories), here are a couple of excerpts to help you make the decision to add this one to your collection (yes, I'm totally biased):

From Chapter 10 - The Shattering of A Soul
“Little bird . . .” the Queen’s voice broke and trailed off.
“Momma, what’s wrong?” The Queen shook her head, and closed her eyes tightly to dam the tears. Snow looked at her mother with sad, black eyes and said, “He’s not coming back yet, is he? Not now?” The Queen shook her head. “Not ever.” - “I think maybe you’re wrong, Momma, he promised he would come home soon, and Papa never breaks his promises.”

The Queen’s grief intensified at the child’s denial. She choked it down and felt it grip at her, slicing at her insides like broken pieces of glass. She felt broken, no longer able to contain her tears. “I know, my poppet, but I’m not mistaken. He couldn’t help it, my darling, he isn’t coming home this time.” The little girl’s lip quivered and she began to shake. The Queen held out her arms to her, and Snow White crumpled into her mother’s lap and howled an unearthly sob. The child was shaking so violently that the Queen felt she might crush the little girl for holding her too tightly. As she hugged Snow she wished to take the child’s grief and lock it away inside her with her own.

From Chapter 18 - Dream Sickness

“Show me Snow White!”

Snow White was running in the dark forest, full of fear and anguish.

She was panic-stricken, alone, and heading back to the castle. Back to her mother, who would surely have the Huntsman punished for attempting to hurt her, and weaving lies that she plotted her own daughter’s death. “Foolish girl.” The forest came alive; it was visceral and dangerous. It wanted Snow White’s life. The Queen’s rage penetrated the trees, bringing their leafless limbs to life. As if they were hands, the tree branches scratched and grabbed at Snow, entrapping her, pinning her to the ground. They wrapped themselves around her neck, choking her, and clawing at her chest for her heart.

The forest would do what the Huntsman could not.

You can read more excerpts HERE.

And you can order from HERE.

And if you'd like to read some behind-the-scenes details and keep up with what else Serena is doing, you can read her blog HERE.

Though this novel is being marketed at 9 to 12 crowd there's obviously a lot there for older readers to sink their teeth into. I can't wait till that 'thud!' on the front porch announces this books arrival! (Maybe I'll put up this bathroom decal in the meantime...)
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