Book review: Snow White and the Huntsman by Lily Blake, Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini

What is Snow White when she’s not being feted or hated as ‘the fairest of them all’... a warrior princess of course!

Tuesday, 3rd July 2012, 7:00 am

If you loved Universal’s summer cinema blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman, here’s your chance to take another star-spangled journey into the exciting novel based on the screenplay.

This imaginative and daring new version, full of action, drama and romance, gives fresh impetus and a thrilling gothic dimension to the classic fairytale.

Brimming with madness, evil, love, bravery, blood and guts, it’s a story that will sweep away all true romantics whether they are in their teens or golden years.

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Entertainment is the keyword in a magical, and yet grotesquely malign, reworking which places the emphasis firmly on the legendary conflict between love and hate, good and bad.

In this colourful and high impact concoction, Snow White turns into a kind of latter day Joan of Arc, the dwarfs play a much darker role and the wicked stepmother is given an intriguing back story portraying her as much sinned against as sinning.

Ten years ago, the stunningly beautiful and vengeful Queen Ravenna murdered her husband, King Magnus, on their wedding night in her determination to steal his throne.

Ravenna’s mother bestowed on her and her psychotic brother Finn a spell that Ravenna believes makes her beauty and the siblings’ power boundless.

In the evil queen’s presence, kingdoms fall, men perish and simple objects take on a magical life, revealing secrets that no one else could know.

But now Ravenna’s looks and powers have faded and her stepdaughter Snow White’s beauty has flourished. The mirror reveals that only by consuming the dead Snow White’s heart, will Ravenna gain eternal youth. Immortality without cost...

When Snow White escapes into the Dark Forest, the Queen sends for Eric the Huntsman, a grieving and haunted young widower and the only person who has ventured into the woodland’s deadly fauna and survived.

He must track down Snow White and kill her but when he finds his prey, the enigmatic Huntsman becomes her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish forever the fearsome and fiery queen...

As expected, there is a filmic quality to the action here, particularly in scenes featuring Ravenna and Eric who were so charismatically portrayed on screen by Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. In fact, the book includes a fold-out colour poster of the film.

Snow White and the Huntsman is certainly no fluffy, Disney-style fairytale – with black magic, the forces of evil and bloody conflict so graphically to the fore, expect the unexpected.

(Atom, paperback, £6.99)