As I’ve mentioned before, I do love a fairy tale reimagining. Unlike many others, Colfer takes the next step with the original stories without changing the plot lines. He gives motives to those who didn’t appear to have any, and adds depth to several characters.
There are two protagonists here, the twins that are depicted on the cover, named Alex and Connor. Though, he gives the twins attributes that are stereotypical of their genders, he also allows both to be the strong and useful in their own way. Neither would progress without the others and it’s obvious to the reader and to the characters.
As the fairy tale characters are introduced, it becomes obvious that these are not stories we are most familiar with not anymore. Colfer reminds us that these were inspirational stories well before Disney put them in cartoon format, and that their characters could have had more to their lives than the stories told of their youth. Here, he begins just passed the end of these stories where Snow White and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are Queens and dealing with the aftermath of the stories we know. I appreciated that he even included the non-royal stories like Goldielocks, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. Their plot line was actually quite a bit of fun.
In the world of feminism and fiction, it may not be the most progressive reimagining of these stories and characters, but it’s not devoid of empowering women either. It reminds us that women will do what we have to, are sturdier than we appear, and there is more to power and strength than it’s masculine interpretations. It also reminds us that different cultures have different standards, and men’s actions can be influenced by love as easily as women’s. Most importantly, Colfer remembers that there is much more that happens in life after our youthful love finding and that there is more story left to tell.