Title: Wild Rose, Silent Snow
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 152 Pages
At a Glance: A fun fairytale remix that takes the time to expand on the original.
Reviewed By: Cassie
Blurb: A huge bear at the door, a handsome, naked stranger in the snow, magic fish, enchanted beards – and Rowan thought his life was odd before.
Content with the quiet isolation of their lake house, Snowden and Rowan Hadley survive on summer jobs and winter hunting, unable to move on since their parents died. Their peace is shattered by a strange, human-acclimated bear who insists on following Rowan like a giant hunting dog and then again by the discovery of a naked, surly stranger in the snow.
Both bear and man lead the Hadley brothers into a strange, surreal world where sorcery and RPG software intertwine. Curses and magical traps lie in wait around every turn. Rowan and Snowden will need to adjust their view of how the world works, and quickly, if they want to live through the process of rescuing their enchanted princes.
Review: I love fairytale retellings. It’s fun to see the author take on the creative challenge of reworking a known storyline, seeing what they perceive to be the core themes of the original, and watching as they play with the extras to make it their own. What I really like is when an author takes the time (and the pages) to make a real world out of the fairytale instead of relying on the reader’s past knowledge of the story to fill in any gaps they’re leaving. I am very happy to report that Angel Martinez gives the story of Snow White and Rose Red a proper treatment in this book. There’s no glossing over events or gaps in plot or character development. Wild Rose, Silent Snow isn’t the Ring Cycle, but it takes the time required to do justice to the characters and the story.
In original fairytales, often the characters have one defining characteristic. They’re kind; they’re beautiful; they’re cruel; they’re charming. It’s not hard to figure out who’s good and who’s evil, who’s made mistakes that can be fixed by the power of true love, and who’s beyond saving. Some of that carries over into Wild Rose, Silent Snow. There’s no mistaking who our “princes” and villains are, but Angel Martinez does give some complexity and pathos to her version of these characters, which I really liked.
I’m greedy, so of course, I wish there’d been more characters and more development in the existing characters’ arcs. The plot was limited to only five characters—the two couples and the villain—with very limited interaction with only one or two others. Snowden and Rowan are feeling emotionally isolated, and are physically isolated by the winter, so the limited number of characters does actually work to underscore that feeling. My bigger wish is that Snowden and his “prince” had more time. It would have been difficult given the character’s verbal limitations, and given that his prince was not able to be in the picture very much, but Snowden ended up being more of a secondary character to his brother Rowan, and I had hoped going in that the brothers would receive more equal focus.
This was a perfect book to curl up with under a blanket while drinking hot cocoa. It was whimsical and adorable, and Angel Martinez managed to preserve that feeling of “fairytale” while writing her characters into a more modern setting (and with a more modern page count!) I’ll be looking for more of her fairytale retellings to enjoy.
You can buy Wild Rose, Silent Snow here: