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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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02/09/2007 Archived Entry: "e-Book review: Snow"

A fantasy by Wheeler Scott
Published by Torquere Press

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This has got to be one of the most beautiful and poignant books I've ever read. It's basically a retelling of the Snow White story from a gay point of view, but it has elements of other classic fairy tales as well. The protagonist is a handsome young prince with the requisite hair as black as night and skin white as snow, but after the death of his beautiful mother following a pregnancy of thirteen months, his grieving father exiles him to a lonely tower with his nurse, just like Rapunzel. An element of Cinderella is introduced when the king remarries, but the stepmother soon kills herself, driven to madness by the constant falling snow and never ending cold that envelops the land since the queen's death. She leaves behind her two grown children, a beautiful blond brother and sister who seem to be twins, they're so close. Unnaturally close; they're incestuous lovers who share lovers as well. And they covet their stepfather's throne, so much that they seduce a lonely huntsman and persuade him to take their teenage stepbrother into the woods and make sure he never comes back.

But young David (his nurse could never remember the long string of noble names he was baptized with), protected by his innocence as well as his beauty, manages to escape his fate. Like Snow White, his would-be murderer takes pity on him because of his innocence and beauty, so instead of killing him he merely abandons him in the middle of the snowy woods, convinced that no living thing could survive in all that snow. But David survives and thrives, after he's picked up by a grouchy miner named Alec who takes him to his village far away, where he learns about love and basic housekeeping skills. He and Alec settle in together quite happily and look like they're in for a happily-ever-after ending, until Michael, the king of that land, learns of David's presence there. King Michael used to be Alec's lover when they were both young enough to think they could change the way things were. But they couldn't, so they split up. Now he's so enchanted by the handsome young prince in exile, to say nothing of his supposed magic over the weather (it hasn't stopped snowing in his homeland since he left) that he simply takes him from Alec, thereby breaking Alec's heart twice in a lifetime.

The lovers eventually reunite after both supposedly get what they deserve: David gets a home in a castle as grand as the one he was born in, with a rich, handsome king to love and protect him; Alec finally escapes the mines he was brought up to believe that he could never leave and has a brief, successful career as a singer. But neither one is truly happy without the other. Strangely enough, only after David's evil stepsiblings send a poisoned present to him on the day he is made Michael's consort do things start going right again. There is a happily-ever-after ending after all, but not for David and Michael. Which is as it should be, in a real fairy tale.

There is more romance than sex in this story and most of the really sordid stuff is done by the straight characters, David's stepsiblings, who give love a bad name Bon Jovi-style. Oddly enough, Scott never gives them names. After you get to know them, you'll be thankful you're not on a first-name basis with this poisonous pair. They make Cinderella's ugly stepsisters look like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, while they were on "Full House". The sex between David and Alec looks relatively innocent by comparison, though I was puzzled by the description of their first time together. Scott doesn't make it plain whether they did it front to back or face to face. Their subsequent sexual encounters are equally confusing, but nothing that a little imagination can't overcome. All in all, a lovely story; I'd give it a 9 out of 10 for originality, despite the many echoes from other beloved classic fairy tales.

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