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Mirror Mirror
 
by
Gregory Maguire
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Mirror Mirror

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  22,352 ratings  ·  1,290 reviews
The year is 1502, and seven-year-old Bianca de Nevada lives perched high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria at Montefiore, the farm of her beloved father, Don Vicente. But one day a noble entourage makes its way up the winding slopes to the farm - and the world comes to Montefiore. In the presence of Cesare Borgia and his sister, the lovely and vain...more
Published (first published October 14th 2003)
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Krissa
Okay, well. Shana and I were at the Used Book Sale at St. Agnes yesterday and she chided me for buying this when I said I'd probably dislike it.

I said I would because I'm not sure anything Maguire does will compare with the freshness, the intrigue and the delight I found in Wicked. Or the quiet painterly tension in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which I liked almost as much.

The gimmick, of course, is getting old. In Mirror, he takes Snow White into the viper's nest of the Borgia family in 1...more
Courtney
May 08, 2008 Courtney rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Italian history freaks, people that enjoy nails on chalkboards
This book would have entertained me better if it had been on fire.
I rarely ever put a book down before I have finished it, no matter how bad it is... but I not only put this book down, I gave it away. The cafe I was reading it at had a collection bin of books to send to the needy in Africa. After forcing myself to read it for several days, I walked right over and tossed it in. Sorry to whoever receives the book, perhaps it will be better than reading nothing, though I doubt it.

Overall the book...more
Amanda
Mar 26, 2007 Amanda rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?
This is by far the least appealing and satisfying of the Maguire fairy tales I've read. I'm not really sure where to begin! I was all set to devour this retelling of Snow White, set within a beautiful Italian landscape and with the wicked "stepmother" cast as an untraditional outcast of royalty. (Maguire does possess a gift for understanding the prevalence of politics these stories imply.) However, the rest was slow going. Unfortunately, I will have to re-read it to give more specific reasons fo...more
Lindsey
I really hated this book. It was like Snow White on acid. Very fragmented and choppy. Even the book cover was creepy. I love retold fairy tales, but I thought this one was a bit of a stretch, and just...weird. I couldn't tell where it was try to go; was it a horror story, a murder mystery, a complete mistake? All in all, it was trying too hard to be too edgy, in my humble opinion. Mirror Mirror didn't recapture the magic that all of Maguire's other novels held. I was really disappointed.

In fact...more
Xaka
I'm a little surprised to see so many dismal/mediocre reviews of this story here. I found myself to be just as fixated by this story as I was by Wicked (I can't say that about another of his popular novels, The Ugly Stepsister).

I appreciated the position Gregory took in this re-telling of Snow White. I found the inclusion of an actual historical family (the Borgias) intriguing, although I'm not going to research them. I absolutely adored his description of the "dwarves" and I think that's where...more
Britta
"The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say."

"What child does not feel itself perched at the center of creation?... Small children know the truth that their own existense has caused the world to bloom into being."

"Speaking uses us up, speeds us up. Without prayer, that act of confession for merely existing, one might live forever and not know it."

"Faith is a floor. If you don't work at making it for yourself, you have nothing to walk on."

"Silence can be tactical. Even God us...more
Erin
May 05, 2008 Erin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes roman history
Erin Gort
Ms. Houseman
H World Lit
5 May 2008

Gregory Maguire
Mirror Mirror
New York: Harper Collins, 2004
280 pp. $16.00
978-0-06-098865-4

The novel “Mirror Mirror” was an immense letdown after reading “Wicked” and “Son of a Witch.” Gregory Maguire is noted for recreating or retelling previously created tales of fantasy. “Mirror Mirror” is the reinvented story of Snow White. Placed in the fantasy tale are Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, the famous children of Pope. They plan the demise of Bianca De Nevada,...more
Bette
I thought that this was a very disappointing book. After reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which I loved, and Wicked, which I liked, I expected Mirror, Mirror to be a fun read at the very least. It was not. I love the idea of playing with fairy tales; but in my view, Maguire did not succeed in transforming Snow White into a compelling contemporary re-telling.
Lynda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lacey Louwagie
This book was sort of like a double retelling -- one of Snow White, and one of the Italian Borgias family. I really liked the use of historical events and people as the backdrop of this fairy tale, particularly the use of Lucrezia Borgia as the "evil stepmother." It made me wish I knew more about the family's actual history because I think I would have enjoyed it more. But as much as I liked that aspect, the rootedness of the story in history and politics made some of the more fantastical elemen...more
Veronica Morfi
I didn't manage to read it all, there are still 50 pages waiting for me but I don't think I'll ever get back to it. It was tiring and really not what I expected. The ideas behind the story might have been good but the story itself was dissapointing! I was forcing myself to read through for a few days now but I realized I was just wasting my time.
Laura J
This is another one of Maguire's twist-on-the-classics novels. I absolutely love the idea and Maguire does it so well. However, "Mirror, Mirror" is not quite as well done as "Wicked" or "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister". The characters in this one were a bit harder to get familiar with and I didn't have a clear picture of the settings, events, or some of the characters.

On the other hand, the writing was well done and the plot interesting enough. It sort of continues with Maguire's theme on not...more
Jessica
I could not get in to this book. Maybe I was hoping for too much at the start, thinking it'd be as good as Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, or even as entertaining as Wicked...but, no. Not even close.

I didn't like Lucrezia, which is to be expected, but I didn't like Bianca, either! She's supposed to be Snow White! She's supposed to be lovely and wonderful and charming and altogether likable! Instead I found her to be boring and tedious and hardly ever there. I was hoping for more of a fabricat...more
Nikki
I like any historical fiction, especially if it has to do with the Borgia’s. While this wasn’t totally centered around them, they were in it, which made me happy. Besides that, the book was still good. The take on the dwarves was very interesting, really entering a magical, fantastical element into something that he could have turned into just a more historical retelling of a Snow White story that sounded more true. Which, actually, I probably would have enjoyed more, but what he did with it was...more
Elizabeth K.
May 31, 2010 Elizabeth K. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Vince
Shelves: 2010-new-reads
You know, I liked Wicked a LOT, but I had this weird feeling after reading it that I wasn't too interested in Maguire's other work because the endless "alterna-tales" shtick seemed tiresome ... which doesn't make a lot of sense now that I think about it, because I never sat around and thought things like "oh Dorothy Sayers, if she's just going to keep writing books about Peter Wimsey solving murders, then why even bother?" But regardless, I was reluctant.

I ended up loving this. He's not a perfec...more
Danny
Yikes... I read this aloud with my boyfriend after piling on compliments about how much I love McGuire's other novels. A few bedtimes and two long plane rides later and we both hated this book...

Part of the problem was in the fact that I did make this a read aloud. McGuire interspersed his text with a lot of Italian words and when you add that to his sometimes eclectic vocabulary, I was tripping over sentences left and right. Stumbling over the pronunciation of half of the words was surely not h...more
Gloria
At first I was a little surprised by all the negative reviews of this book. I think it's one of his best. In fact, I ended up liking it better than Wicked. The first time I read the book, I didn't really "get it." The second time though, I was floored. It strikes me as a psychological and metaphorical novel. Whereas Wicked and it's sequels are pretty much straight-up exciting storytelling rife with action and politics, Mirror Mirror has extended sections that in first reading are confusing. But...more
Angela
A dark and vivid retelling of Snow White transposed to the Italy of the Borgias. Lucrezia is the evil stepmother and five-year-old Bianca de Nevada grows into the role of Snow White. Vicente, a minor landlord beholden to Lucrezia and her brother/lover Cesare, unwillingly leaves his motherless daughter to go on a seemingly futile errand for Cesare. Journeying to Greece to seek out a branch of the holy Tree of Knowledge, Vicente languishes for years in the dungeon of the very monks who possess the...more
Marianne Ruggiero
I loved this book. I find Gregory Maguire's style of writing and use of language different, very compelling. It reminded me of "Wicked," in that the beginning was kind of difficult due to the unusual type of narration. When I got used to that, I got gradually drawn into the tale and couldn't put it down. I loved the inclusion of short poems at the beginning of each chapter, some had the feel of ancient chants. And the woodcut illustrations are lovely, they really complement the text. For a tale...more
Joana Marta
Not so exciting as I was expecting. Mirror Mirror is a retelling of the traditional story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

It’s very odd and darker, something I already expected, but it wasn’t as great as I found out Wicked to be. Maybe because I knew all the flow of this story, it wasn’t surprising, even with the inclusion of the Borgia family. It needed something more to change the story to something really great. Only bad stuff happens in this book, I felt depressed most of the time with i...more
Marie
This book was interesting, no doubt. I agree with other reviews that the book was difficult to read at some points. The story was somewhat languid, but still beautiful and complicated. The book is set in Italy in the 14th century, which I thought was a good choice on Maguire's part. It was perfect for his book. However, languid would definitely be a more positive view of the storyline. The story lacks real speed, plot and ending, and the real snow white-y components of the story are tightly sand...more
Holly
Gregory Maguire has taken the Grimm's Snow White fairy tale as a base, added some perspective from the evil stepmother's point of view, and fleshed the story out further by adding fascinating historical details from the life of the Borgia family.

Casting the evil stepmother as Lucrezia Borgia, illegitemate daughter of Pope Alexander IV, is very cleverly done.

*spoiler alert*
Much has been written about "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" (what the Grimm's titled "Little Snow White." As one critic no...more
Valerie Pate
I wouldn’t go so far as to say “Wicked” was a one-off, and yet I have not found any other book by Maguire to be as successfully visionary. There was something so spellbindingly perfect about the way our familiar Oz was turned on its head. I’m beginning to believe, however, that the type of magic I long for when cozying up with another Maguire novel, may never be rekindled.

Snow White, known of course as Bianca, makes her home in 16th century Italy. For a bit of historical reference, I suppose, th...more
Sunny
I had mixed feelings about this book. The book entwined the fairy tale "Snow White" and the historical stories of Cesare Borgia and Lucrezia Borgia. Well, the author did tweaked the history a bit to fit the story line. So no. I would not use this as a reference for a history paper on the Borgia family. Nevertheless, many historical sites and events during the 1500's are mentioned within the pages. I haven't looked up the time periods for historical accuracy. However, I could tell the writer real...more
Becky
I have read a few of his retellings. His version of Cinderella was one of my favorites. This is a darker version of Snow White with the villain as Lucrezia Borgia. They are known as an infamous family, so it was a perfect choice in my opinion. I also liked that the dwarves weren't really human at first. The ending was different than I thought but was still good.
Rosemarie Short
This book reminded me a lot of a film I saw recently called Company of Wolves. The film, as with this book, had a tone which was fantastical, surreal, at times silly and yet wholly engrossing. For the makers of the current 'dark fairytale' trend of films, take note - this is how it's done.

I enjoyed the way chapters were short, flitting from one thought to another in an almost dream like state. The characterisation of Bianca is perhaps a little underdeveloped, but this is made up with by the mac...more
Jamie


I choked this book down waiting for it go better only to be disappointed when it never did. Gregory Maguire has let me down for the last time. I don't care what hype his next book gets I will not be sucked in by it's shit gyre. That's right. My review includes the word "shit" and appropriately so.
Jeanette
Ok, I can't do it! I tried to like this book and can't. I'm not crazy about his writing style. It was all over the place and sometimes you had no idea who's point of view you were getting. I wanted to like it, I really did. I can't even give this book 1 star. I am hoping that Wicked is a bit easier to follow.
Kiersten
The infamous Lucrezia Borgia as Snow White's evil stepmother? Brilliant. Dull and lifeless characters, irritatingly obtuse writing style, and way too much creepy weird sex stuff--not so great. Also, I could have done without reading about Snow White's first menstrual period. Thanks anyway though.
Thomas Holbrook
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 make...more
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The unicorn? 3 47 Jul 12, 2012 02:32PM  
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Gregory Maguire is an American author, whose novels are revisionist retellings of children's stories (such as L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into Wicked). He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children'...more
More about Gregory Maguire...
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years, #2) A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3) Out of Oz (The Wicked Years, #4)

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“The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.” 167 likes
“If you're ever in doubt, throw a pepper in the air. If it fails to come down, you have gone mad, so don't trust in anything.” 44 likes
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