Customer Reviews for

Mirror Mirror

Average Rating 3.5
( 150 )
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(34)

4 Star

(49)

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(45)

2 Star

(14)

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(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

another outstanding unusual story

Mr. Maguire has done another outstanding job with an old classic. This is truly another way to look at fairy tales, and one that will make you think. Well done!!!!

posted by 1285095 on April 28, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

didn't like it, but I don't like Gregory McGuire, so...

I did not enjoy <i>Mirror, Mirror</i>, which was a book club suggestion rather than a personal choice. I had read <i>Wicked</i> and not liked it much- the writing style seemed oddly impersonal and the tone did not work for me. McGuire seemed to...
I did not enjoy <i>Mirror, Mirror</i>, which was a book club suggestion rather than a personal choice. I had read <i>Wicked</i> and not liked it much- the writing style seemed oddly impersonal and the tone did not work for me. McGuire seemed to be going for a balance between the cold pragmatism and cynicism of the Wicked Witch and the delightful, magical feel we associate with the Land of Oz. Despite liking the musical, the book left me cold. Because of that I was not looking forward to reading another book by the same author.

In a retelling of a well-known story the author must be extremely strong on points such characterization in order to compensate for the lack of surprises in the plot. In <i>Mirror, Mirror</i> McGuire tried to achieve this by mixing the Snow White story with the mythologized history of the Borgia family. An interesting concept, but ultimately too similar to <i>Wicked</i> in its faults. The characters seemed to be flimsy and one dimensional. Despite the apparent purposefulness of this choice with regard to the dwarfs, it felt like sloppy writing. The details of Lucrezia's possible incestuous relationship with her brother felt like salacious gossip rather than useful addition to the plot.

The ending was also disappointing. The worst part of Snow White is that she runs off with her prince despite hardly knowing him- and even worse, the reader doesn't know him either. <i>Mirror, Mirror</i> repeats this, despite having the opportunity to introduce a prince of an entirely different nature or a relationship that comes out differently from our princess and her prince in Disney and Grimm's.

Basically, if you liked <i>Wicked,</i> you might like this. I'd call it a toss up. If you love Snow White stories, go for it. If you didn't like <i>Wicked</i> or haven't read anything by McGuire, I wouldn't bother. You're not missing much.

posted by 735488 on February 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    Pretty good :-)

    I love how Gregory Maguire takes classic tales and creates a new twist on them. Really enjoyed reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A new outlook on an old story...

    This book gives a fresh perspective to the Cinderella story. The hidden depths exposed throughout the telling of Mirror Mirror kept my attention through most of the story. The beginning of the story was a little difficult to wade through, but set the scene for the rest of the book. It gave great insight into each of the characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The ability to take a moment in History, add a fairytale and cre

    The ability to take a moment in History, add a fairytale and create a story that sheds light on both takes a mind that is rich in imagination, a broad grasp of History and a deep understanding of the Genre of Myth.  Gregory Maguire has proven his ability to retell a familiar tale in such a way so as to cause a tale to never be heard with “the same ears” again.  In this retelling of “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty,” he drafts Lucrezia Borgia into the role of the “Evil Step Mother/Witch” and makes more real a “bedtime story,” even though the original always spoke more than we parents wanted our children to understand.
    Set in early 16th Century Italy, a time of City-States who were in a near constant state of war with each other, the Vatican was less than Holy in its duty to over See of the world and farms were kingdoms unto themselves. Don Vicente and his daughter, Bianca, live on one such farm.  Their idyllic life is suddenly and rudely interrupted when, Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, daughter and son of Pope Alexander VI, whose term as Pope set a standard of corruption unsurpassed until recent history, arrive.  Cesare, an arrogant warrior, sends Don Vicente on a quest to attain a branch from the Tree of Knowledge spoken of in the Book of Genesis, leaving the beautiful Bianca at the mercy of Lucrezia.  A (possible) historical fable is born and detailed with remarkable deftness.
    How the mirror is discovered, who made it, it’s designed use and the change brought about when all of the books elements are eventually combined is a delight to read and a moment of literary brilliance in writing.  The mirror is never meant to be a fortuneteller; rather, it is intended, as are all mirrors, to tell the truth as the seer would like it to be once all the “blemishes” have been removed. As is true in all good stories, the quest for power is prominent in the action of this book and, as is true in all fairytales, that power is subjugated by the true power found in innocence and truth.  The elements that cause such conquest are clearly evident, fluid and all around us; their familiarity causes those elements to be invisible until one becomes aware, as if waking from a dream, of the results wrought by the effect of the elements.  Quests are fulfilled once the seeker is brought to the place of facing the truth of their essence. Only then are we found to be worthy of the discovery of what we seek.  
    There is allusion to sex and violence in this story.  The characters are well developed and “believable” (as much as one is willing to suspend disbelief to believe in the existence of earth dwelling dwarfs). The ending is a commentary on the bitter-sweetness that is life.  We lose things that are dear, discover hidden strengths, learn to grow up, return home to find it has changed in our absence and we are not immediately recognized as belonging there.  
    Reading Maquire is a trip to the bedtime stories of one’s childhood, seeing them with the eyes of an adult – the fantasy made sense we were children because we wanted to believe; they make more sense now because we are willing to see life more clearly but still consider the possibility of magic.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Quick enjoyable

    Thumbs up

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Poison apples, to go

    After a somewhat slow beginning, Maguire's retelling of the Snow White story takes off. The quest for Eve's apples gives the reader a rare taste of original sin, delivered in the disturbing form of a familiar fairy tale. This well-written novel reminds us of the pre-Germanic origins of the Grimms' tales, and despite its abrupt ending, worth every minute!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2006

    Interesting but confusing at times...

    This book was very creative and it made me look at the whole story of Snow White in a different way. However, it was very confusing at times especially the parts about the dwarves and the poems randomly placed throughout the book. Although these were confusing, I think that that was sort of the point of this book in that one has to discover their own meaning to these vague references and imagery, which isn't bad because it really makes the reader think. Overall, this was a worthwhile read, at least for anyone with an imagination and a willingness to use their brain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    NICE

    I liked the book. But honestly, after reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, I expected a bit more from this one. The beginning is slow, but after a while (when Vicente finally returns home) the story gets interesting. I think that the end is disappointing. I didn't expect Bianca to be rescued by a charming prince,...but not even by a hunter who initially wanted to kill her! Over all it's a good book to read. It's always fascinating to read an alternative version of a well-known fairytale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2005

    Wonderful, but it could have been better

    Mirror Mirror is a very good book, but I agree that it seems that Maguire cut a lot more than he should have. It seems that sometimes he doesn't explain things as well as he should, or leaves them a mystery. But overall, I found Mirror Mirror to be a very good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2005

    A most magical novel!

    Mirror Mirror is a novel to be taken into serious consideration. I have read the reviews here of readers from far and beyond our country, nonetheless, I decided to give Maguire a shot. At first the story is a little lacking of plot and of some residing action, but as the climax rises, and the conflicts begin to take place, this easily fascinates readers of any age. I became hooked on this novel and simply couldn't put it down, under an sircumstance. As a young child, the mysterious yet rather enchanting story of Snow White has always captivated me, and now to see how everything happens, and why it did fills me with joy. Maguire seems to tie the knots beautifully, and it all fits in to the classical tale of Snow White. Beautiful work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    He does it AGAIN

    This was an amazing depiction of the Snow White fairy-tale. He expresses himself in such a fanatical manor (as always)! Behind the story itself, the reader (if s/he wills) picks up on many insightful views and opinions on people¿s life challenges. How we choose to perceive the world around us, and how we choose to deal with them. Overall, this was a great read, and very easy to become part of Maguire¿s world.

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