Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Dewitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen by E. L. Sarnoff
Here's a fun mashup of fairy tales: E. L. Sarnoff's Dewitched. The premise of this one is a lot of fun -- after the evil queen's plans to kill Snow White are thwarted, she's entered into a rehab program, by none other than the Huntsman she had trusted to help her with her wicked plan. With a steady barrage of familiar fairy tale characters, and lively writing, this one is a page turner.
The only real problem I had with this was the constant use of sexuality and ugliness equating to wickedness among the female characters. This was all from the viewpoint of the rehabilitated queen, whose thoughts and attitudes don't change so much as she learns to progress from her initial impulses of anger and jealousy. So I suppose it's a matter of the character, but I felt uncomfortable with the constant uses of the words "skank" and "whore" as derogatory terms. There is also a whole can of worms about body image here and I didn't feel like the writing handled that in a fully responsible way -- in spite of the premise that the queen must overcome her inability to see inner beauty, there is a consistent use through the book of ugliness or ugly terminology to depict evilness. So if that is a hot button for you, I would avoid this one.
However, it is a fun romp with a lot of clever writing in terms of the use of fairy tales and sly puns about them. Some of the throw-away mentions of other tales startled laughter out of me and there are good chuckles throughout the book, both in the fairy tale references and the characters themselves.
It's a light and funny read, with a cute premise and a lot of great cameos. The book didn't go quite where I was hoping it would, but with some surprising twists near the end it was enough to keep me guessing. It's only available as an ebook now, and for the low price it's a fun afternoon read.