I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Snow White by Matt Phelan
Release date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic novel, young adult, retelling
The scene: New York City, 1928. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words “Another . . . More Beautiful . . . KILL.” In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page—and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.
I love graphic novels! A few years ago I went through a phase where they were all I read, but I’m only now rediscovering how much I enjoy them. Of course, reading a graphic novel on my iPad is not ideal and because of the file some of the formatting was a bit off, but still, this book was well worth the issues that sprung up.
Almost everyone knows the story of Snow White. How her evil stepmother, blinded by jealousy, sends a huntsman to kill her. How Snow White is aided by the seven dwarfs, only to be tricked into eating a poisoned apple and the saved by a dashing prince. While most of those elements are in the graphic novel, the story and setting are turned on its head, creating a much more gritty and dark version of this well known fairytale.
The story takes place in New York City during the start of the Great Depression. Life during the 1920s had been good for Samantha Snow’s family, however, their fortunes change with the stock market. Her father dies under mysterious circumstances and her stepmother, enthralled by a ticker tape machine, becomes insanely jealous of Samantha’s wealth and beauty. After an attempt on her life, Samantha is helped by a group of street children and a no-nonsense police officer.
Snow White was a very quick read. I finished it in one sitting and this was mostly due to the fact that there aren’t many words. The story is primarily told through large black and white images. They are extremely detailed and yet come across as unfinished sketches. It reminded me of an old film. Of course, the lack of colour only further enhanced the fact that the story was set during a dark time period and Samantha’s suffering. The file did say that the images in the finished version of the book would be in colour, something that I don’t think is necessary at all. I really enjoyed the old and dark vibe they gave.
Overall, I highly recommend this graphic novel. The author did an excellent job reimagining a story that has been retold many times before in a new and exciting way. 🙂