I received this book for free from NetGalley, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TITLE: Blood Red Snow White
AUTHOR: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
PUBLICATION DATE: October 25th 2016
Source: NetGalley, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
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Russia wakes from a long sleep and marches to St Petersburg to claim her birthright. Her awakening will mark the end for the Romanovs, and the dawn of a new era that changed the world. Arthur Ransome, a journalist and writer, was part of it all. He left his family in England and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman. This is his story.
Blood Red, Snow White is not the fairytale retelling you might assume it to be based on the cover or title. Instead, it is a story told in three parts, all of which mainly focus on the life of Arthur Ransome, a British writer.
The beginning of Blood Red, Snow White is a bit weird, but in a good way and it was intriguing enough to hold my attention. The fairytale aspects were nicely woven into the story with a nice balance between the fairytales and the story itself. The writing starts out fresh and complex and the story is beautifully crafted. However, the story falls a bit flat in the following two parts. What started as interesting and unique soon became boring near the end of the first part. What started as historical fiction started to feel more and more like historical nonfiction; almost like a biography rather than a fictional story.
I think part of what gave the book a biographical feel were the characters. They were told in a more imaginary way, but besides the little fairytale retellings, the characters actually existed in real life at one point of time. Arthur Ransome, along with other characters mentioned in the book like Lenin, the Tsar and his family, and were all real people, all of which felt static.
Another problem I had with Blood Red, Snow White is the plot and the story itself. I get that the three separate parts are supposed to be like three different novellas and as a whole, a retelling of the life of Arthur Ransome, but even keeping all of that in mind, I felt like the whole book was all over the place. And if I wasn’t as familiar with the early 1900 Russia (which I’m no expert on), I would be very lost and confused. More confused than I was, at least.
Well crafted and with a combination of fairytales, history, spies, romance Blood Red, Snow White had the potential to capture my full attention. Unfortunately, with a more biographical like plot and flat characters, Blood Red, Snow White fails to do just that.