“Snow White” gets an upgrade in this clever, surprisingly gritty science-fiction version.
Essie has spent eight years hiding in the hardscrabble mining settlements of Thanda, cage fighting for cash and “stitching” machine code, especially for her seven autonomous drones. When Dane, the charming offworlder she rescues from a shuttle crash, discovers that she is the long-lost Princess Snow, he can’t leave behind such a valuable pawn in the ongoing interplanetary war. But what if Essie refuses to go home? Elements of the classic fairy tale are skillfully woven into this update, with a particularly delightful nod to the Disney dwarves. But Essie is no passive, pretty princess; she is tough, cynical, paranoid and prone to violent rages—rough edges that gradually make sense as the horrific truths about her childhood are revealed. Dane, in contrast, is the perfect prince: strong, gentle, devoted and (irritatingly) slightly better than Essie at everything. Sweet romance and graphic violence, earthy humor and chilling abuse, space-opera settings and vintage derring-do—they all intertwine with unexpected panache. If the wicked king and the downright monstrous stepmother are cartoonishly evil, their villainous schemes implausibly over-the-top and the climactic revolt against their tyranny ludicrously simple…well, the source tale is hardly free of plot holes, either, and who cares when it’s so entertaining?
A fine addition to the ever popular subgenre of fairy-tale adaptations. (Science fiction. 12-18)