Shurtliff (Red, 2016, etc.) continues her series of hilarious and heartfelt fairy-tale retellings by relating “Snow White” from the grumpiest dwarf’s perspective.
An anomaly among dwarves, young (he’s 52), friendless Borlen has an unnatural fear of depths, preferring to be as close to The Surface as possible. When Borlen is appointed to a work crew as the lowly, purposeless Seventh (crews almost always have only six), he finds his chance to escape the tunnels. As the crew mines ever deeper, Borlen digs to the forbidden Surface, where he meets the vain and paranoid Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore. Life on The Surface is more wonderful than Borlen could have dreamed. The queen is so kind! Definitely not like the humans in the cautionary tales he grew up with. She gives him purpose by appointing him her personal adviser and keeps him well-fed with a never-ending supply of sweet, euphoria-inducing rubies. To repay her generosity, Borlen turns her looking glass into a magic mirror. A rambunctious princess with snow-white skin, a poisoned apple, an enchanted sleep, and true love’s kiss—all the familiar elements are here, but not in the way readers might think. Lovable Borlen’s grumpy first-person narration explores themes of belonging, friendship, and doing the right thing.
Sure to please fans of reimagined fairy tales. (Fantasy. 8-12)