My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I haven’t read the original story, but my volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is marked so I can read it later. But reading this as a fairy tale retelling, I can say that it is a lovely story complete with dainty princesses and dashing princes and guards. There are the loyal and trustworthy forest people/peasants to round out the cast. It was a fairy tale in nearly every modern sense of the term. The princess even has special powers. And the end is sweet and happy.
My issue is with the existence of the modern fairy tale in the first place and our current American obsession with princesses. For those of you unaware of this obsession, just talk to the salespeople at your local toy, book, DVD, and children’s clothing purveyors. Nearly every little girl is being inundated by Disney’s princesses – and they’re just leading the pack.
Combine that with what some may see as a parenting problem, many young girls are growing up feeling entitled (to special treatment, hand-holding, coddling, etc) and expecting to find a prince on a white horse ready to defend her honor… Granted some parents do a fine job of conveying the difference between fiction and reality and never let any notions of princessdom even occur to their youngsters.
But books like this don’t serve to help the matters along at all. “But what about the protagonist and antagonist both being female? Isn’t that good enough?”, you say. No, it’s not. These characters are still dressed up and beauty is certainly a theme in the book. And without the generous assistance of their male counterparts, these ladies would be incapable of this conflict in the first place. Not to mention that by the time a girl is old enough to read this book, she should be far beyond her princess stage. She should be growing up and growing away from the fantasy land that’s encapsulated in this kind of a book.
It’s sad to me that so many people think this is good literature for our young ladies to be reading when there’s so much else out there that’s so much more worthy of the time inside those little developing minds.