Disney’s Twisted Tale book series adds another classic fairytale to its growing list of altered fables with Mirror Mirror: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita. The premise of each book poses a question on the cover and for this story, it’s “What if the Evil Queen poisoned the Prince?” But that’s not the only twisted aspect of the Snow White story to be found within the pages of this story, which seems to take place in an alternate Disney universe.
The narrative switches points of view between the Evil Queen, aka Ingrid, and includes much of her backstory. In this version, the Evil Queen is Snow White’s aunt, which adds a new level of vile to her wicked deeds and the treatment of her niece, Snow White. But as the title suggests, her Magic Mirror is another major character and their first encounter and rise to power are slowly revealed through flashbacks.
The book begins with a prologue during the story’s climax, with Snow White and a friend sneaking back into her kingdom to overthrow the Evil Queen and take back the crown. It then returns to Snow White as readers will remember her from the beginning of the 1937 animated classic film, a scullery maid in her own home cleaning the gardens of the palace. But unlike the animated film, which didn’t portray any other servants or villagers in the kingdom, this version of the story features a fully realized kingdom living in poverty and terror under the vengeful queen.
This Twisted Tale takes more creative liberties with the source material than most in the series, reading more like an expanded Brothers Grimm tale than the Disney animated classic. But just when the story feels like it’s taken too far of a departure from the familiar, Jen Calonita includes an iconic moment or character from the Disney film to reconnect you with Snow White’s world. But with so many other characters introduced, the dwarves become minor characters in this version and Snow White’s time with them is impeded by the expanded role of the prince, who is named Heinrich.
Mirror Mirror: A Twisted Tale changes so much of the story that you begin to question if it will reach the same ending as the film. Fans of the Twisted Tale series will have good reason to question the direction of the book, as several titles in the series have ended in different ways than the animated films. In this version, Snow White becomes somewhat of an action hero and while her integrity and morals still feel like the character we know and love, her actions feel far removed.
I enjoyed Mirror Mirror: A Twisted Tale and I’ve been pretty happy with the series thus far. My favorite is still last year’s Reflection by Elizabeth Lim. But if you’re a big fan of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this would be a fine introduction to the series. And if you enjoy this one, Jen Calonita has another installment set to release this fall based on Frozen called Conceal Don’t Feel: A Twisted Tale.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.