Through The Mirror And Into Snow introduces Valerie and Samantha, two young girls who are best friends, but only get to see each other once a year for one week. When Sam is over at Val's farm, they discover that the mirror in the barn is actually of the magical variety. They are transferred into fairy tale land, right into the forest where Snow White is wandering around after escaping the Evil Queen.
Though the main storyline of Through The Mirror and Into Snow focuses on Snow White's tale (she's called Snolindra in this book, by the way), there are plenty of "cameos" and appearances by other denizens of the world of fairy tales. Some of them will probably come back in later books, too, which I find absolutely charming.
One sort of big thing to note is I love puns, bad jokes, and random trivia about popular cartoon characters and whatever else. One of the characters (Val's mom) is an endless well of such jokes and pointless trivia, and I have to admit here I was laughing out loud. The jokes and puns don't necessarily make or break the book, but they're a nice touch I fully appreciate.
The atmosphere at Val's home, especially when Sam is visiting, is very much like any home with young girls residing that are princesses of their castle. And not in a bad way, as with spoiled brats. In a fun, magical way. Also of note, and this is important, is that there is no conflict at Val's home between herself and her parents. Actually, this is the first book for young adults or mid-grade readers I've read in a while that doesn't have a focus on mean, irresponsible, or neglectful adults being the source of conflict for the child protagonist. I see this as a major positive.
If you're familiar with fairy tales, then you'll know what happens for Snow White and any other fairy tale characters that Val and Sam encounter. This doesn't necessarily make the book predictable though, as the whole reason they were whisked away to begin with is because something went wrong and the story needed pushing along. Val and Sam, thankfully, have the will and strength to not steer the characters away from their intended paths -- and they even have the mind to know they shouldn't tell them their stories are written about in our fairy tale books, either.
Finally, what I liked about this first book is the stories are rather open-ended. Yes, the girls met Snolindra and her story played out to its intended path. Her story isn't over yet though, so she'll probably come back to a future book. The girls met other characters as well whose stories are only just begun or partially fulfilled. I love the idea of being transferred to another world and the stuff of books is just all unfolding around you -- everything at its own pace.
Ann T. Bugg's Through The Mirror And Into Snow is a fabulous introduction to her Before Happily Ever After Series and I recommend it to any and all fans of magic, princesses and fairy tales. Boys included - there's nothing anywhere that says you've got to be a girl to like these things.
Thanks to Ann T. Bugg and her team for providing me review copies of these books! The next title in the series is Into The Forest And Down The Tower. Check back soon for that review, and look forward to an interview with the author along with the review of the third book on December 6th!
Buy it on Amazon: