After Ever After, Book One: The Ritual of Forgetting

Mindi Meltz. Logosophia, $22 trade paper (404p) ISBN 978-1-7350432-0-3
Meltz (Lonely in the Heart of the World) braids four fairy tales into a cryptic mythic fantasy with rich symbolism that ultimately collapses under its own weight. Four princesses of Sirenia live through maidenhood to motherhood through infertility, infidelity, and plague—and glancingly impact each other’s lives along the way. Each woman’s story picks up where her fairy tale ends: Snow White, aka Princess Rowan Anai, is forced into marriage by domineering Barbarian Prince Leo; Cinderella, here Princess Ella, reflects on her life at court; Sleeping Beauty, or Lemara Hummingbird, struggles to retain selfhood in her marriage to Prince Micah Wye; and Mina, married to a reformed Beast still traumatized by losing his kingdom, grows into herself in a simpler life. Celtic- and Wiccan-inspired magic, outdated gender roles, regressive noble savage archetypes, and an unwavering focus on sex strongly evoke 1970s fantasy. Meltz’s prose, meanwhile, veers from lovely to overworked and is undermined by scant attention to story; instead, it’s focused on explaining the emotions of her characters and the anthropology of the fictional kingdoms. This impassioned but overembroidered opener doesn’t bode well for the series. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/26/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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