A “Snow White” retelling set in a relatively modern world bursts at the seams with magic and supernatural creatures.
Cami, the pampered 16-year-old daughter of the Vultusino clan, isn’t true Family, but a human girl adopted at a young age when Papa Vultusino rescued the badly abused child. She lives between worlds, going to school with other humans while socially involved in the world of the Seven, the most powerful and influential Families. Along with having no true place or past, her terrible stutter and passive, introspective nature deprive Cami of a true voice. Just as she comes to realize that her nightmares might be memories, Cami befriends the Vultusinos’ new gardener, Tor, a boy with the same scars she bears. She unravels the dangerous mystery of her past to make peace with who she is. Fairy-tale motifs are not limited to Cami—her best friends Ellie and Ruby reference Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. This ambitious work makes a couple missteps: The prose aims for lush but sometimes stumbles into decadent, and the love interest is generically dark and sexy. More than compensating, the ambitious worldbuilding and alternate history are fully thought out and well-realized, sure to enchant readers patient enough to let them coalesce.
A delicious treat for fairy-tale fans. (Urban fantasy. 12 & up)