When the girl brought my bowl she was in and out through the door like she couldn’t move fast enough. And when the lock clicked after her I found something she’d left. A knife. And not one for spreading butter, but a sharp one for slitting throats.
Snow by Gina Inverarity is the perfect young adult (YA) book for our times; a dystopian retelling of the Snow White fairytale in a modern post-climate-change world set in New Zealand.
The story opens in a fortified chateau in the mountains where a child (Snow) is held captive by her stepmother, Rain. Rain is the archetypal wicked stepmother and Snow, in contrast, is strong and true despite her small stature. She reminded me very much of the protagonist Ophelia in the brilliant YA French steampunk series, The Mirror Visitor by Christelle Dabos (which I have raved about for eons).
Although elements of Snow’s world reflects our current post-bushfire, refugee crises and global pandemic world of 2020 – this never becomes a story that is too grim or harsh. We take hope because Snow takes hope.
What I most enjoyed about Snow:
- the capture of a much colder New Zealand – Inverarity’s sense of place is vivid and rich. I really enjoyed imagining this story world;
- the intimate relationship between Snow and her bear cub, Little Bear. Their relationship is a joy to behold;
- the premise of a post-climate-change world that seemed entirely plausible and dark but with a glimmer of hope;
- the retelling of the Snow White fairytale. I read Snow in a couple of sittings because it was an easy, enjoyable read and I was genuinely curious about how the story would play out;
- I love the book cover and the detail on the inner pages is gorgeous, too. The making of Snow has obviously been a labour of love, and it shows.
If you enjoy reading modern retellings of fairytales or dystopian fiction, this book is for you. Highly recommended reading for YA readers and anyone who enjoys a good story.
Locked in a cell by her stepmother, Snow grows small but she still grows. Even so, she’s hardly a match for a world gone wild, where the sun has disappeared behind clouds for good. The night the hunter takes her into the forest with orders to cut out her heart, Snow makes him a promise she isn’t sure she can keep. And then she runs.
Snow’s life is no fairytale. As she grows up her path will take her into the mountains, over misty passes, desolate gorges and alpine rivers, as well as to the city, where she will make her case for the return of what is hers.
And her childish promise will not be forgotten.
A dark and lyrical Snow White retelling set in a postclimate-change world, Snow is a fairytale of the future.
About Gina Inverarity:
Gina Inverarity worked for many years as an editor for a range of publishers. Her first children’s book, The Brown Dog, was published in 2017. Gina owns a forest in New Zealand and hopes to live in it one day. For now, she lives in Wellington with her partner and two daughters. Snow is her first young adult novel.
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Many thanks to Wakefield Press and Australian Bloggers for giving me the opportunity to be part of this book tour.