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Title: Shadows on Snow
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tales
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Started: July 30, 2017
Date Finished: August 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Young Adult
Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.
Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.
Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.
I’ve always loved fairy tale retellings, so much so that I write them myself and infuse the all to familiar tropes in all of my works both fanfiction and original. Starla Huchton has taken it upon herself to delve into terrain fairly well trodden in order to present the old in another new way. Since this is the first of her stories I’ve read, I’m going off of assumption here, but it appears as though what she’s flipping is the gender of the participants.
The seven dwarfs are now seven sisters (who still manage to be princesses in their own right), the evil queen is an evil king, and Snow White is an ebon-haired, snow skinned prince named Leo who is a kind capable ruler that any man would be willing to follow and many a princess would want to marry, but he’s not the main character; the Rae is.
Rae and her sisters, six dispossessed princesses, have been working to reclaim what they once had, endowed with abilities that no mere “dwarf” could boast. I’d be hard-pressed to either remember all of their names let alone powers, but Rae (who is telling the tale) has the ability to cast glamours/illusions, which is convenient when you’re doing reconnaissance in enemy territory, and you need to play a convincing stable boy. The youngest princess also has darkness in her past not of her own doing, and Huchton does a decent job portraying the aftermath and undeserved mental consequences of sexual assault where the mere thought of just wearing a dress is triggering. Her introduction to the prince comes via the stables between the buffer of horses, and it could be because she and Leo initially meet man to “man,” where Rae sees his merit there, as a solid foundation to build a friendship albeit reluctant.
Shadows on Snow follows all of the beat points of Snow White while still maintaining some measure of suspense. We know we’re going to get a poisoned apple followed by a glass coffin, and I was still impressed with the presentation of the magic mirror. While the story didn’t do anything new, it was still beautifully written with individual, if sadly forgettable, characters in the seven sisters who would risk anything for repossession, as Rae braves her own past and heart for the chance at happiness.