Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review in Two: Tender Morsels

Magicked away to the world of her heart's desire and away from the brutal realities of her life, Liga lives a happy life with her daughters, until the safe borders of their existence are breached by man and beast. This retelling of the classic story of Snow-White and Rose-Red* with delightfully entertaining language includes mature themes, making this a read for an older audience.

The lowdown: I was drawn into Margo Lanagan's tale almost immediately, but about halfway through began to struggle with the pace of the story and became unsure of the direction. There were about 50-100 pages where I questioned the judgement of all those who had raved about this book. I put down the book and read several reviews, searching for the missing piece that would make the novel work for me. My persistence paid off, however, as it picked back up again and made for quite a tale. I enjoyed Lanagan's quirky vocabulary, which gave everything an authentic fairy tale feel, even in the face of some ghastly (though not graphic) sexual assaults. I think there's some Printz potential here, but wouldn't bet the farm on it.

*Note that Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a completely different tale from this one. Do not look for mirror-mirrors on the wall or jolly little men heading off singing and whistling to work in the mine.

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