There is nothing quite like a beautifully done fairy tail retelling. Not that we would expect anything less from Mr. Gaiman.
In any graphic novel, which is the category I'm choosing to lump this book in with, we have four areas to review: World Building, Character Development, Plot, and Art.
1. This book didn't need a lot of world-building because the reader is fairly familiar with the setting for these traditional tales, however connecting the two tales of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White did take a little explanation which is handled artfully.
2. Snow White behaves just as expected, she is all girl power and confidence. Although she is about to marry her Prince, she puts off her happily ever after to go off and save their lands and another princess. I would say that the weak part of this book is that the characters behave exactly as you would expect them to, which wasn't necessarily disappointing, but rather unenlightening.
3. I loved how these two stories tied together to become something new. I think that audiences might not be as impressed with this retelling because of Once Upon a Time, which has taken weaving together traditional stories to a whole new level. As a fan of the show, I didn't really see this as a fresh way to look at these stories because the show does this so well. That didn't decrease my enjoyment of this short story, however. On the other hand, that kiss between the queen and the princess might just be this books undoing. Who is the intended audience? At my library this kiss would mean the book should end up in the YA section at least, but will a teen read this? Will an adult check it out? The story would obviously appeal best to children, but if I put it in the children's section, will parents come and complain? I love to push the envelope and this twist gave the story just enough of a "gasp" factor to make me happy, but will traditional parents appreciate it?
4. The ART of this story really is where the book sings. I loved the black and white sketches with the metallic gold accents. The simplicity of the images really brought the story to life. This is a story we know, it didn't need any extra flourishments to bring alive on the page. However, the incredible detail in these almost expected pictures features texture, depth, and a magical quality.
Overall it was a great book. Fairy tales don't need to come at us in a totally fresh way to be fantastic.
Rating: ***** (Five Stars)
Book Bingo: A Library Book