Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: Six-Gun Snow White

Six-Gun Snow White Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a half-breed girl saddled with the nickname Snow White has had enough of her wicked stepmother, she goes on the run in the Wild West. As she lives by her gun and her wits, will past catch up with her?

Six-Gun Snow White is a retelling of Snow White as a western. It hearkens to earlier, non-sanitized, pre-Disney versions of the tale. Mr. H, Snow White's father, buys her mother, Gun Who Sings, from her tribe. Gun Who Sings dies in childbirth and things are as good as could be expected until the second Mrs. H moves in.

Valente really made me care about Snow White's hardships, both before she went on the run and after. Her stepmother really needed a bullet to the brain from Rose Red. Catherynne Valente's prose was as kick-ass as usual, although it felt a little wordy for the tale it was telling at times. I really liked the spin she put on the ending.

A lot of the fun of Six-Gun Snow White is seeing how Catherynne Valente has recast familiar aspects of the tale, from the Pinkerton Huntsman to the seven dwarves analogues, the sisters. The story is more like a western with echoes of the early versions of the tale than a straight translation.

Six-Gun Snow White is a well-written little novella, perfect for a short sitting full of grit and violence. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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