SNOW & POISON, by Melissa de la Cruz, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, April 18, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Snow White moves from fairy tale to 1600s Bavaria in Snow & Poison, a historical fantasy by Melissa de la Cruz.
Known as Snow White, Lady Sophie has led a sheltered life in the mountains of Bavaria. Until now. Her father, the widowed Duke Maximilian, is at last remarrying, and on the day of his historic wedding, Sophie is making her high-society debut.
At the ball, Sophie charms the dashing Prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne. But as Philip and Sophie start falling deeply in love, the king of Spain loses his temper. His wish is that Philip would marry a princess. And now, his command is Sophie’s death.
In a quest for survival, Sophie seeks refuge in the home of seven orphans, the counsel of a witch, and the safety of her blade. With the looming threat of war upon her duchy, Sophie must ponder: Can she do right by her home and honor her heart’s desire? —Synopsis provided by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Snow & Poison was almost everything I was hoping a historical reimagining of Snow White would be. Factual elements are layered with imagined, creating a believable world that feels both familiar and new.
The female dynamics throughout Snow & Poison are particularly interesting. Though society gives them little power, these women use what they can to their advantage, even if that means becoming an “evil witch/queen” or submissive daughter.
The women in Snow & Poison are so strong that they overpower the men — even the good ones. Prince Philip is dashing and wonderful, but he’s kind of lackluster, and the seven orphans feel like a missed opportunity. There are some beautiful moments with them, and I found myself wishing for more.
At 288 pages, Snow & Poison is a fairly short young adult read that moves quickly. I read it cover-to-cover in a few hours. It’s a strong reimagining with nods to previous variations that will have readers smiling.
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