Books/Reading

Book Review: Snow, Glass, Apples

Snow, Glass and Apples is an adult re-telling of the classic Snow White fairy tale as a graphic novel. I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels (2, I think?) and I wasn’t sure what to look for exactly since I’m not really in the know for this particular type of book. I headed over to Amazon to do some searching and thought I’d type in “graphic novel fantasy” and see what came up. When this one with Neil Gaiman as the author was in the top dozen or so, after taking a look at the cover art, I decided this would work nicely. I already adore Gaiman’s writing, and a fairy tale re-telling plus gorgeous art – sign me up!

First off, this is NOT a book for children, despite being a classic fairy tale. It’s been redone to be a much more adult-themed story with some horror and erotica mixed in for good measure. The book is written from the point of view of the “evil” stepmother, who is really not the evil character in this book at all. She falls in love with (and seduces) the king, Snow White’s father, and becomes the queen. Since this is a graphic novel, there’s not a large amount of text, but what there is all has that evocative, well-crafted writing I’d expect from Gaiman.

The storyline is really driven by the artwork and it is beautiful and lush and amazing. I originally felt that the art had a strong feel of Mucha’s turn-of-the-century art posters and Erte’s fashion art, but artist Colleen Doran discusses the inspiration for her art in a short chapter at the end of the book, and includes many of her sketches and pages-in-progress, which I found fascinating. (Those who are into manga will probably see some similarities in Snow White’s facial features to some manga art characters.) She commented that this style of art was outside of her normal and it was a stretch for her to create the images, but if she hadn’t said that, it wouldn’t have been apparent to me. I felt like the art and the words perfectly complemented each other. I would gladly take many of the pages in this book as wall posters; they are stunning.

In summary, I enjoyed this short (64-page) graphic novel, which was a fairly new-to-me genre. I’m glad I picked something that was a story I knew I’d like, and one with art that I felt drawn to, and equally happy that those two things (story and visuals) married so well in this edition. I am not sure this will become a go-to type of book that I will look for, but I am really glad I got the opportunity to expand my reading horizons a bit, and wanted to present my thoughts here for any of you (Nicole? at Bookwyrm Knits?) that aren’t as familiar with this type of book and are curious about my take on it.

This is book 3 for my Fall Into Reading Challenge – a graphic novel.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Snow, Glass, Apples

  1. A retelling of a classic fairytale in the form of a modern graphic novel – I am intrigued. I have loved many of Neil Gaiman’s novels, so I wonder how I would get on with this one. Normally, graphic novels are a bit outside my comfort zone.

  2. They generally are outside a comfort zone range for me too, so I can completely appreciate that sentiment. The couple other ones I’ve read are more “comic book-y” and I didn’t like them as much. I think for me the combo of the writing and the art pushed it over the top into “I liked this”. I also appreciated that the fairy tale was more Grimm/grim than the Disney versions – and the dichotomy of the beautiful art and the wicked tale behind it.

      1. I read it this morning. It was DARK, and twisted, and the end SHOCKED me. And a few times I went: EWW.
        I particularly like the artist’s discussion at the end. Having professionals let you on to the many drafts and re-dos before the final draft is refreshing.

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