The second book of the Fractured Fables series by Alix E. Harrow, b, is a retelling of Snow White featuring the adventures of Zinnia Gray.
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A Mirror Mended, the second book of Alix E. Harrow’s Fractured Fables series, is a retelling of Snow White. The second installment picks up Zinnia Gray’s story from where it ended in the first book, A Spindle Splintered. In the first novella, Zinnia cheated death on her twenty-first birthday. Instead of dying from a toxic build-up of misfolded proteins due to the Generalized Roseville Malady, she found an unlikely escape to the world of Sleeping Beauty. In this book, she is considerably restless after
visiting a million versions of the same story and saving numerous hapless princesses from the terrible fate of never-ending slumber. When a villainous character from another fairy tale snatches her, it begins yet another unexpected adventure. Had I not known about Harrow’s writing prowess, I would have deemed her ability to deliver so much within so short a span as something magical. She wove a wonderful tale that took up less space than you would have expected it to do. In this fast-paced story, she did not linger on anything but created sudden bends to keep the readers going. Each terse sentence, each glance, and each subtle gesture ended up having far-reaching consequences.
Like Harrow’s other novels, this one was also highly empowering. The story never followed a predictable path, taking unprecedented turns and breaking tradition on every page. The retelling concentrated on the dark and disturbing parts of the original fairy tales, not the diluted and cheery versions with which we are more familiar. Harrow has an astounding ability to make the readers question everything they had long accepted as the truth. The infamous evil queen, universally regarded as a villain, turned out to be as much a victim of her circumstances as the doomed princess. Even the most innocent-looking damsel in distress could hide a cruel soul. Harrow’s novel showed how everyone was merely trying to escape the harsh fates their stories offered. She reminded us why we should not judge a book by its cover.
I loved how Zinnia never sported a larger-than-life personality despite having altered the courses of many lives. She was brave yet afraid, noble yet reckless. She was not ready to accept her terrible fate and kept running away, albeit rescuing many other helpless characters. We could not help rooting for her and wanted her to succeed against all odds. Similar to the first book, a sapphic theme started subtly, with the barest of hints. However, as the story progressed, it gradually rose in tempo. Suddenly, even in the middle of a life-and-death situation, we were interested in the fate of the scarcely-blossoming romance. Yet, unlike the dreamy fairy tales, we already accepted that there could be no ‘happily ever after’ here. Instead, Harrow taught us to be happy in the moment, with no promises of a ‘forever.’
I recommend this novella to readers who appreciate dark fantasy or retellings of famous fairy tales. However, to understand the premise better, I must urge the readers to finish the first book before taking up the sequel. At the same time, I look forward to reading more of these jewels from this acclaimed author.
- Title: A Mirror Mended
- Author: Alix E. Harrow
- Genre: Fantasy
- Theme: Retelling of Fairy Tales
- Publication Date: June 14 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B09C4F5X1Q
- Number of Pages: 128
- Minimum Audience Age: 15
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 3
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 4
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 4
- Other adult themes: 3
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 4 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 5 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 4.84 out of 5
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