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    Review of MIRROR MIRROR by Gregory Maguire (see his website)

    ReganBooks, October 2003

    When Cesar Borgia sends Bianca de Nevada's father on a mission to recover the remaining apples from the tree of knowledge, Lucrezia Borgia agrees to watch over his daughter. But his mission takes Bianca's father away for years and, as she grows older, Bianca attracts the attention of Cesar. Lucrezia's jealousy excited, the Borgia pays a hunter to kill Bianca in the forest--where she is watched over by seven dwarves. Oh, and there's a magical mirror--an artifact that the dwarves badly want returned to them.

    Author Gregory Maguire has retold the story of sleeping beauty [correction--the story is Snow White], set in late renassaince Italy. The beautiful and much abused Lucrezia makes an intriguing villain--sympathetic but capable of acts of complete selfishness and cruelty. Maguire's writing adds a lyrical and mystical quality to the story, making the magical appear normal and part of everyday life.

    Beyond Lucrezia, the dwarves are fascinating constructs. The seven (or eight) dwarves are on a doubtful journey toward humanity but retain much of their mineral past. Through their care of Bianca and her father, the dwarves achieve individual identities, names, and the enfirmities of age and aging. Bianca remains something of a non-character spending most of her time asleep, or trustingly opening the door to another of Lucrezia's attempts to kill her.

    Maguire's writing is strong enough, and his characterizations of Lucrezia and the dwarves interesting enough to compensate for a story that consists of the primary character sleeping most of the book away.

    See more reviews of novels by gregory Maguire.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 11/23/03

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