Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire

I have found, in the books of his that I've read, that Gregory Maguire's writing style is a bit... hmm, heavy and slow. That's not to say I don't enjoy his work, and in fact I quite liked Mirror, Mirror. It does take a little more patience than some more accessible stories, so if you haven't read any of his stuff, be prepared for that if you pick something up.

Having said that, he does spin a good story.

This is both the tale of the fair and innocent Bianca de Nevada, and the woman who becomes her guardian, Lucrezia Borgia. Not precisely a stepmother, but something of a mother figure, Borgia is an actual historical figure, whom Maguire has bent a little for the sake of his story. However, the Borgia family was known for poisoning their rivals and being absolutely cutthroat to get what they wanted--so it's not so much a stretch to imagine her as the villain in a Snow White variant.

Maguire's fascination with her comes through, and the story focuses on Lucrezia almost more than Bianca. She comes across as both ruthless and sympathic; it is an excellent character study.


  1. I've really lost interest in McGuire since reading Wicked, which started out strong, but ended fairly weak.

  2. Wicked was the most heavy and slow of all the Maguire books that I've read - in fact I had to go back and reread passages and even consult a dictionary at times - but his style was so different from anything else I've read that it pulled me through the thick prose. And it hooked me. I especially loved the sequel to Wicked, Son of a Witch - which I read aloud to my unborn son. :) Wish he'd get back to that storyline, as the dalliance into the Cowardly Lion's story was interesting but really an unwanted distraction...

    I haven't read Mirror Mirror, yet, but Maquire's take on the Cinderella story is one of my all-time faves. Having read the Wicked series, I was completely taken off-guard by the change in tone. "Confessions of an Ugly Step-sister" has a painting motif, and the language reflects that beautifully. Stunningly. Breathtakingly. Makes me want to be a better writer, good.

    I'm reading "What-the-Dickens" now. Again, a change of voice. Much lighter read. Fun. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  3. I just wrote up my review for Wicked, which will be part of Wizard of Oz week at the beginning of December. I haven't read Confessions but I saw the made for TV movie, I'll have to look around and see if I can find that. It was only on youtube at the time, they hadn't released it as a DVD at that point....

    But yeah. I'm reading through the Oz books now before I get back to Son of a Witch etc. So it'll be interesting to see if he only used the original book as his jumping off point or if he drew from the later material as well--although I know there are mentions of a few things in Wicked that only come up in later books, like Ozma and the Nome King.