{Blog Tour Review} SNOW WHYTE & THE QUEEN OF MAYHEM by Melissa Lemon

Follow the rest of the blog tour here for more reviews, guest posts, and chances to win!
I was lucky enough to participate in the blog tour for Melissa Lemon's debut novel CINDER AND ELLA last year.  Melissa stopped by for a guest post and I also shared my review! Check them out for more Melissa Lemon goodness. :)

O P E N I N G   H O O K:
THIS IS A STORY ABOUT A PRINCESS, and, unfortunately, it is also about a queen.  Where do I come in--a mere man without status or even means? Well, there are places along the way where I may be of importance, but for now I tell the story simply because I am the only one who can.  And since t his story is about a princess, we may as well begin at the start of her life.
(Page 10, US e-ARC edition)

In SNOW WHYTE AND THE QUEEN OF MAYHEM, we jump into the action on page one, immediately discovering that the queen hates her baby daughter so much that she repeatedly attempts to kill her.  Desperate to save his daughter, King Fredrick flees.  He leaves baby Katiyana (a name that means Snow in the kingdom of Mayhem) with his Uncle Barney for safekeeping, than takes off again, where he is met with a vicious, untimely demise.  Fredrick only ever called Katiyana "Kat" around Barney, so Barney never knew her full name.  He gives her his surname, Whyte, so she is brought up never knowing that she's Mayhem's princess, believing herself to be a simple, ordinary girl.  One day, Barney goes blind and is forced to bring in outside help for the apple orchard, a town boy named Jeremy who is about Kat's age.  Barney falls into despair and begins drowning his sorrows in drink, and after he grows more violent, Jeremy encourages Kat to escape, creating a path that will bring about the tale everyone knows and lives, albeit not in a traditional fashion.

It was interesting to see the way Melissa Lemon included so much more than just a fairy tale in her novel.  One character is an alcoholic, and another has Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI, or "brittle bone disease"), though neither terminology is ever used.  It was especially interesting to see OI in a fairy tale, which I hadn't been expecting.

One of the stand-outs about SNOW WHYTE AND THE QUEEN OF MAYHEM, at least to me, is the fact that the entire book is narrated from the magic mirror's POV. Have you ever wondered about why he's inside the mirror or what his life is like in there? I never really considered it until an episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time last season, then again with this novel. In fact, the way this book is told reminds me a lot of Jodi Lynn Anderson's buzzworthy release TIGER LILY earlier this year. (Review) I had been expecting a book about the title character, but not one from Tinker Bell's POV. Likewise, I was expecting a story about Snow White, but not one from the mirror's POV! In a way, this worked well with Lemon's storytelling style. Because she tells things in a traditional fairy tale style of prose, both of her novels have come off a little more "tell" and a little less "show." This irritated me at times in CINDER AND ELLA, but suited the text more in SNOW WHYTE, so it didn't stand out as it had before.

While there was one big "surprise" that I saw coming, there was another that I didn't, and it truly caught me off-guard.  It was interesting to see the way Lemon twisted the fairy tale together, than tore it apart to insert new or different elements, creating her own unique version of the tale. 
C O V E R   D E S I G N:
I like that this book has more of a "fairy tale vibe" than its predecessor, CINDER AND ELLA, did.  I also appreciate the way Cedar Fort used the same title/author fonts on both covers, making them look like they came from the same author.  I always appreciate when this is done, because it creates unity in the design.
My favorite part about this cover is the way we're seeing Snow Whyte through the mirror.  It's a hint that the mirror is the one telling the story, which I didn't know until reading the book!  In a way, the cover reminds me of Jodi Lynn Anderson's cover for TIGER LILY (which I mentioned above in the review as well), because that cover has Tink on the cover, and the book is from her POV.  It's a really interesting new trend to see, and I wonder who else might utilize this technique in the future!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Melissa Lemon
Release Date: Out Dec. 11, 2012
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Received: For Review

Stuck in her family's apple orchards, Kat's got plenty of work to do and only pesky Jeremy to help. But when Jeremy convinces her to run away, Kat will discover that nothing---and no one---in her life is quite what it seems. Wonderfully reimagined, this is the magical tale of Snow White as you've never read it before!


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