Share for friends:

Mirror Mirror (2004)

Mirror Mirror (2004)

Book Info

3.26 of 5 Votes: 5
Your rating
0060988657 (ISBN13: 9780060988654)
regan books

About book Mirror Mirror (2004)

Erin GortMs. HousemanH World Lit5 May 2008Gregory MaguireMirror MirrorNew York: Harper Collins, 2004280 pp. $16.00978-0-06-098865-4t The novel “Mirror Mirror” was an immense letdown after reading “Wicked” and “Son of a Witch.” Gregory Maguire is noted for recreating or retelling previously created tales of fantasy. “Mirror Mirror” is the reinvented story of Snow White. Placed in the fantasy tale are Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, the famous children of Pope. They plan the demise of Bianca De Nevada, the innocent and pure Snow White. The novel has difficult Italian vocabulary and requires history of Rome and the Borgia family. Maguire constantly changes the scene and character throughout the novel, leaving characters dull and undeveloped. These flaws in the writing cause the reader to be left bored and confused.tThe requisite fairytale ingredients are present - magic mirror, dwarves, beautiful girl, evil authority figure, and random unicorn. But even with these, one is left disappointed by the fact that Maguire seems to devote more attention to the context and history of the story than to the story itself. Maguire clearly did a great amount of research for this book, and that should be applauded. Even so, the book left the reader longing for more fantasy and less history. Maguire interspersed his text with a great deal of Italian words and when you add that to his eclectic vocabulary. Stumbling over the pronunciation of half of the words was surely not helping the story flow, but unfortunately, the story already seemed incredibly disjointed and murky. Maguire’s usual love of the complex characters does not appear in this in this story, instead they were just unfathomable and flat. Many of the characters had great history behind them, but not enough detail and intrigue to enchant the novel. The most one-dimensional character is the main character Bianca. She never is fully developed as an intriguing character because she spends most of the book asleep or suspended in time. As a symbol of innocence and purity, though, she is the center of the novel around which everything else revolves. She is forbidden to live her home on the farm. When talking with Cesare Borgia they discuss her view of the world outside of her view. She says, "I seldom leave the farm -- only once or twice to the village at the ford of the river a few miles on, and then only with my father. Years ago. This is world enough for me, up here. I play with the birds. I climb the apple trees. I used to try to make friends with the servant girls, but since my father left, they have gone away too. Primavera feeds me, and when he remembers, Fra Ludovico sees that I keep to my devotions. I've learned a few letters and I can write my name, some modest sentences. I can swim; the gooseboy taught me how. I milk the cows when the farmer is too drunk to come up the hill to do it. I collect the eggs and help pull beans from their runners and tomatoes from their vines. I help Primavera move the potted lemon trees into the limonaia for the winter. In the summer I pick oleander, lavender bells, and fennel for the shrine in the chapel wall. I watch the moon in its swelling and subsiding" (Maguire 86). Bianca is a dull and uninteresting character with nothing to intrigue the reader or leave them wanting more. She falls flat of Snow White, whose classic story at least kept the girl mysterious and captivating to the reader. What's the point in retelling a fairy tale if the retelling is as one-dimensional as the original story?Gregory Maguire does not live up to the praise and glory of “Wicked.” He left the reader utterly confused and bored. He simply goes too far into the background history and context of the characters that he deprives “Mirror Mirror” of a stimulating storyline for the reader. By using Italian terminology and foreign history Maguire damages his hopes of having another bestseller. He leaves the characters without a life that attention-grabbing and unique, boring the reader and leaving the book unsatisfying.

"Out of all the novels by Gregory Maguire, this one is my favorite one. True Wicked was more popular, there was something about this novel that touched my imagination in a way that I cannot really explain. I can say that the novel itself is a mix of both fairy tale and historical events. Also, I can tell you that the tale takes place in Tuscany, Italy which in my opinion is a fine setting for such a book.I have to say that giving Snow White a more exotic and foreign name of Bianca de Nevada was quite smart on Maguire's behalf. It made me truly believe that ""Snow White"" truly is the fairest maiden in the land and in all respects she is as it attains to this novel. The novel starts out with Bianca at seven years old with her father Don Vicente. They come into pocession of a mirror that was made by dwarves but was found by Bianca in a pond which was used to temper the mirror. An eighth dwarf remains with her asking for the mirror back.The wicked queen is in the form of Cesare Borgia and his sister the lovely and vain Lucrezia - who are decadent children of a wicked pope. Lucrezia serves as the wicked queen and grows jealous of Bianca's beauty as she ages into grace. On an attempt by Lucrenza to kill Bianca through a woodsman, Bianca escapes and runs into the seven dwarfs - who are looking for the eight dwarf and the mirror Bianca found years ago.Because of this new twist and plot, this novel was quite an entertaining read and probably the quickest read I had from Gregory Maguire. I was very impressed and loved how everything just went into place with all of his writing. The majestic setting of old Italy also added to the imagination as it gave the ""Snow White"" story more depth. Personally, I think this would make an excellent follow-up to Wicked to truly understand Gregory Maguire and I recommend it as a tryout to anyone and a guaranteed read for those who love Maguire's magical writing style before he published his later writings."

Do You like book Mirror Mirror (2004)?

This book would have entertained me better if it had been on fire. I rarely ever put a book down before I have finished it, no matter how bad it is... but I not only put this book down, I gave it away. The cafe I was reading it at had a collection bin of books to send to the needy in Africa. After forcing myself to read it for several days, I walked right over and tossed it in. Sorry to whoever receives the book, perhaps it will be better than reading nothing, though I doubt it.Overall the book was a slow-read with undeveloped characters. I felt myself wishing it would all just end. I suggest any one looking to read this book study up on their Roman history and the Borgia family. You'll need it for this, and if you don't know it you might feel a little lost.In all fairness though I didn't like "Wicked". Everyone else on earth seemed to have loved it, so I truly felt like maybe I missed something. So onward I went in the Maguire books. Sometimes we all make bad decisions.

Stuff I Read - Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire ReviewI was surprised how much I liked this book. I probably shouldn't have been, because I liked Wiked, but in some ways I was disappointed with Wicked as well, with how it dealt with the Dorothy aspects of the story, and I am much more a fan of the Oz books than I am with anything Snow White related. Of course, that's possibly why I liked this one more, because I was less invested in the setting. Also, I'm a sucker for historical fantasies and this is a good one, visiting Provincial Italy during the squabbles of the Borgias and the Medicis and all the rest. It's a compelling read, tragic and full of flawed characters.The one character that really isn't flawed, of course, is Bianca. She makes an excellent Snow White, being basically a child, trapped by that innocence and ignorance. She is, in many ways, the mirror of Lucrezia, who becomes more the main character of the story. At the very least, the story is more about Lucrezia's life and her arc. She is the woman who falls in love with her brother. She is the woman who is sold off into marriage not once but three times. She is the one who cannot find happiness because she is never allowed the power to hold it. That she becomes a creature trying desperately to destroy Bianca is her own lashing out at the image in the mirror, at her own past and her own history, trying to kill it because of the harm it did to her.The story is also filled with some great fantasy. The dwarves are the clearest illustration of this, a sort of living earth that separate and gain individualism only through interactions with the human world. They are not quite the colorful and vibrant characters from the movie, but there is an element of that there. They are products of mainly Bianca's mind, and she gives them consistency until they are able to enter into the human world fully. But it is a fool's errand, as are so many of the things in the story. Vicente's quest for the apples, Cesare's for support, Lucrezia's for Bianca's death, and the dwarves quest for the mirror. Each are for things that they think they need, and each end poorly because they are looking in the wrong place.I liked the religious aspect of this all, too, the way that it's used, the hypocrisy of it, from the Pope using Lucretia to imply that he had incestuous dealings with her to the apples offering nothing of the positive knowledge they should have given to the monks imprisonment of Vicente for so long. It all worked, and worked well with the characters and story. This was not a happy story, was in many ways about the passing of magic into the mundane. But it was a good story, one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and in the end one that will probably stick with me for a time. That said, I'm giving it a 9.25/10.

Okay, well. Shana and I were at the Used Book Sale at St. Agnes yesterday and she chided me for buying this when I said I'd probably dislike it. I said I would because I'm not sure anything Maguire does will compare with the freshness, the intrigue and the delight I found in Wicked. Or the quiet painterly tension in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which I liked almost as much.The gimmick, of course, is getting old. In Mirror, he takes Snow White into the viper's nest of the Borgia family in 16th century Italy and, well, it sort of falls flat. None of the characters get enough page time to really develop at all, not the way Elphaba did. You don't get into their minds and see the classic flat fairy tale twisted on its edge. What's the point in retelling a fairy tale if the retelling is as one-dimensional as the original story?His graceful way with words is still there, of course, as is his ability to draw away from one scene and fall seamlessly but intentionally into another, stitching the two side by side in the right way. But perhaps the story of Snow White doesn't carry as much weight as the complex Wizard of Oz (which, of course, draws on a far meatier starting point in L. Frank Baum than the usual flat fairy tales) or the quiet injustice of Cinderella (made SO palpable you barely remember the original story's destination). But I was still disappointed. I still expected Maguire to pull through, no matter how many oddly-angled dwarf chapters I read or how artlessly he tried to make the cunning and terrifying Lucrezia Borgia into the flat vain Wicked Witch. Not to mention how utterly boring Bianca de Nevada was.Pity. I guess I'll still read Lost and finish out the Maguire oevre.

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Gregory Maguire

Other books in category Fiction