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Book Review: Snow White and The Huntsman, A Novel by Lily Blake


Title:                   Snow White and The Huntsman, A Novel
Author:             Lily Blake
Format:             Paperback
Price:                  PHP 520.00
Read Date:      12 June 2012

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
A breathtaking new vision of a legendary tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman who was dispatched to kill her.

Review In A Nutshell:
I delved right in to reading this book within hours after my second screening of Snow White and The Huntsman. Having discovered its existence, I satisfied my curiosity to see if the novelization was any better, if there were some things that were missed out. If there’s one thing that I learned this time around, I lowered my expectations. And I’m glad I did, for I surprisingly enjoyed the book even more than the movie from which it was inspired.

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Who will you be when faced with the end?
The end of a kingdom,
The end of good men,
Will you run?
Will you hide?
Or will you hunt down evil with a venomous pride?

Rise to the ashes,
Rise to the winter sky,
Rise to the calling,
Make heard the battle cry.
Let it scream from the mountains
From the forest to the chapel,
Because death is a hungry mouth
And you are the apple.

So who will you be when faced with the end?
When the vultures are circling
And the shadows descend
Will you cower?
Or will you fight?
Is your heart made of glass?
Or a pure Snow White?

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DISCLAIMER:
This review contains spoilers especially pertaining to plot angles that were not covered in the movie. If you are planning to read this book, you have been properly warned. 😉

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I delved right in to reading this book within hours after my second screening of Snow White and The Huntsman. Having discovered its existence, I satisfied my curiosity to see if the novelization was any better, if there were some things that were missed out. If there’s one thing that I learned this time around, I lowered my expectations. And I’m glad I did, for I surprisingly enjoyed the book even more than the movie from which it was inspired.

Remembering most of the movie reviews I’ve read about Snow White and The Huntsman, one of the common complaints among the critics was that the script was completely underwhelming and uninspired, that it did a disservice to the actors cast for the roles. I agree to a certain extent, especially if I were to consider how I felt the first time I watched the movie. I think I have learned to deal with it by my second screening, almost to the point of ignorance, save for a few lines and monologues like that eulogy from Chris Hemsworth… err, The Huntsman. I don’t mind being told that. No, sir.

For the novelization though, Lily Blake – a first-time author/adapter – did a fine job in adding more meat into the almost emaciated script. A good chunk of the dialogue (and sequences) in the movie was retained but these read so much better. Perhaps what got me to read deeper was that she kicked off the novel from a different point than the movie: she went straight into the time where King Magnus was still in deep sorrow after losing his wife and has gone into battle when a dark army was threatening the peace of his kingdom. From here on, I was treated to a lot of differences – some were subtle, some were not – that made me want to beg the big guys at Universal to churn out a director’s cut or something because it was obvious that a lot got lost in the cutting room.

One of the more striking differences that I loved in the novel was that the marriage between King Magnus and soon-to-be Queen Ravenna took a while and not within 24 hours after their encounter in the battlefield. She earned the hearts of the people surrounding the king: befriending Duke Hammond and reading stories to Snow White and William. And the reason for her scheme to take over the kingdom was out of revenge for her mother, one of the travelling gypsies that were killed during one of raids done by King Magnus’ men.

Another difference (which is of importance to me and my friend, Meann) is that the motivation for The Huntsman, named Eric, for teaching Snow White that random self-defense lesson was because he needed someone who could be able to defend him or set him straight since the Dark Forest was getting on his nerves too. Eric took note of Snow White’s defiance in their first meeting as a sign of raw bravery, something that can be nurtured if given the chance. Plus, the novel offered a longer conversation/interaction between the two characters sufficing the development of their relationship, which was more than the slight puns, sidelong stares and seething grunts that I was treated to. If that was incorporated in the movie, the chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth – although present – would have exploded more on screen. I felt that during their confrontation at Fenland Village; reading the novel made me want more of it.

The novel ended a little clearer than the movie did. While it still made you pray for the fate of Snow White’s heart, it was more definite who she has chosen. She chose Eric. However, Eric’s decision to leave because he had no place around royalty and Snow White’s new duty as the Queen of her kingdom taking more precedence found each of them taking different roads. As to when those roads would meet again, Snow White sure seems hopeful but it was obvious that Eric’s departure caused her sadness that even Prince William, who is just a friend in her eyes, would not be able to erase.

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My Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars

My Two-Cents:
If you liked the movie and you can afford it, buy it. The paperback copy comes with a free 2-sided Triptych pullout poster featuring Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen, and Chris Hemsworth as The Huntsman, which you can check out the images below:

The 2-sided Triptych pullout poster included in the novel.
Image Source: MTV Hollywood Crush

If you cannot afford it, well… I don’t need to tell you what to do, right? 😛

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