Lured in by Wicked and entranced with The confessions of an ugly stepsister, my hopes were high for Mirror mirror but sadly Gregory Maguire Lost me, as his other so-titled novel had before. The idea of taking a fairy tale and reversing the storyline and character roles can be spectacular or lose all charm. The dull and drab Mirror mirror left me searching for something that I couldn’t find in it.
Stories and fairy tales, fiction and non-fiction all hinge on characters and plot. A purpose, a mission, a lesson, actions or even lack-there-of must take place and spur, or stagnate, a story to make it captivating in some manner. Tales of grisly human nature can become literature with a literary writing style…yet interesting historical figures can fall flat when dropped into a tepid hull of a classic story. The Maguire’s note about Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia at the end of the novel gives me slight pause, since he tips his hand in revealing the kernel of reality in addition to the refashioning of the Snow White fairy tale, yet considering everything that fact alone doesn’t redeem this story for me. I hate to give a bad review but sometimes writers need to be called out on a poor attempt, especially when they’ve written great works prior.
Oddly enough, Maguire’s earliest works were most enjoyable so what is it about Mirror mirror that he wrote later? Mainly, the first 50 pages go no where and don’t convey much–main characters aren’t explored, the traditional storyline isn’t there nor is it challenged, and the writing style itself doesn’t even compel me to read on. From what I remember of Wicked, the story took off running and the plot began its crescendo very early on; plus, who doesn’t want to hear the true story of Oz as never before? When all that happens in the first 50 pages is finding a mirror in the mud, I doubt that the rest of the novel will become interesting. So much potential for the story is missed out on, and along with the non-existant plot at this point, I am forced to put this book down for good. Nothing speaks to me, which is truly a disservice to a reader.
If you’ve read and liked Mirror mirror, leave a comment below explaining why. I’d love to know what I’m missing, when all that I see here is 7 years bad luck.
Recommended?: Not really. Perhaps for the die-hard Gregory Maguire fans in order to read his complete works. My aunt read it for that reason and it wasn’t her favorite yet not her least favorite of his either. More an adult novel than young adult, from what I read.