YA Fantasy Book Review | The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Ink yard Press ▪️ June 25, 2019 ▪️ 544 pgs

Dear Reader,

From the first sentence of Chapter 1, I was hooked and could not put the book down. The Evil Queen is a masterful, contemporary retelling of The Snow White fairytale (Grimm and Disney) and has appeal to its intended young adult audience as well as an adult audience who appreciates fairy tales in all their incarnations.

What I Loved

The story took a fundamental good versus evil tale and made it multi-layered and complex, reflecting reality more accurately. Though the characters in the novel are destined to be characters from Snow White, by story’s end they discover that each of them holds part of Snow White, the Evil Queen, the Huntsman, and the dwarves within and that life is made up of choices, some of which reflect our good qualities and some of which reflect our less than noble proclivities .

The novel is an exciting look at nature versus nurture debate. Are people born inherently good or evil or does their environment influence what they become? If the Evil Queen had been the daughter of Snow White rather than the stepmother, would she have turned out differently? This is always an interesting debate, and the novel explores it in an enlightening way for the YA mind who is learning that the world is full of different shades gray.

Building a new world for readers takes a great deal of vivid imagery, and The Evil Queen delivers. Enchantia is a multi-faceted world full of fantastical creatures as well as ones the reader is more familiar with, and I loved every nuanced descriptor contained within the pages. Based on reviews I perused, some readers felt that there was too much description to the point of boring them, but I felt like I could see, hear, and smell the bewitching world of Enchantia and it made me love the novel even more.

Everly Morrow is a complicated teenager full of angst, devotion to family, and cynicism about the world around her. She is Everygirl. I would be happy to read book after book to experience how Everly grows and develops into the woman she is meant to be. In this novel, she is a normal teen girl plagued by typical teen girl problems that translates in an exciting yet surprisingly fun way in the fairy tale world. This approach enables the reader to see a classic tale through new and knowledgeable eyes and brings a whole new layer to even the original story from which the novel is based.

What I Wish

I wish I had not tripped and stumbled when reading the prologue. It is out of context, which makes it confusing and in worst cases experiences, off-putting. Once you get past the prologue though, the book reads fast and is gripping to the point you will read so much at one sitting that your eyes will go bleary.

The teenage jargon had not been used. The dialogue does not flow well with it, and teenagers will not feel a kinship to the book because of its use. It makes the novel read as less than genuine, whereas the issues are legitimate and should be given proper respect by the reader.

To Read or Not to Read

The Evil Queen will enthrall you, entertain you, and make you believe in fairy tales once again. This novel should be a must read on your summer list!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Links to booksellers

For your convenience, I have provided direct links to online booksellers:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Books A Million

Target

Independent Book Stores

Also available on Apple Books, but must be accessed through the app.

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