White as Snow (The Fairy Tale Series)

White as Snow - Tanith Lee, Terri Windling I read this book for a college course on fairy tales and folklore. I have read some of Lee's other novels, most notably Black Unicorn, Red Unicorn, and the Secret Books of Paradyse, and was excited to read her retelling of the Snow White fairy tale. On the whole, this book was good. Lee attempts to give more insight into the central female characters, especially the Queen. Lee actually gives the queen a name and a personality, and not a wholly unsympathetic one at that. Coira, a.k.a. Snow White, however, still seems quite flat as a character. Even in Lee's retelling, Snow White lacks agency and seems incapable of taking action. She remains a passive character who allows things to be done to her continually. The one real exception is taking the dwarf Hephaestion as a lover. Which brings me to perhaps the largest issue I have with Lee's book. She adds to the snow white fairy tale the greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, as well as a host of other random greek mythological characters/story lines, such as Hephaestion. The result is rather convoluted and messy, which ultimately takes away more than it adds. That said, Lee's writing is as good as ever, and the book is enjoyable and interesting on a surface level (I secretly enjoyed those "ah ha!" moments when I recognized various myths etc.). I appreciate the project that Lee and other female fantasy writers have undertaken with books such as this, and I have read some of the other fairy tale retellings published by Tor. I just wish this had turned out better and that Lee's Snow White was a character I could care about. If you are looking for a strong female lead in a fantasy book, you'd do best to look elsewhere.