BY CLAIRE WU
This week on #NovelReads, our book reviewers had a royal time reading "Blanca Y Roja", a twisted tale about fate, sisterhood, and what happens when things get colorful.
All opinions expressed in this review are the author's only, and do not in any way represent NM.
In McLemore's story, two loving Latina sisters are faced with a family curse where one of them will turn into a swan, forced to bend to destiny's will. But when two boys stumble into the woods, their fates become irreversibly entwined with theirs, which can only lead to destruction or salvation. Spellbinding and mystical, Blanca & Roja is a novel with superior world-building and imagery for this fairytale retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. However, I think that the plot and motive behind the characters' actions could have been more defined to enhance the tale.
The basic premise of McLemore's story is that two loving Latina sisters are faced with a family curse where one of them will turn into a swan, forced to bend to destiny's will. But when two boys stumble into the woods, their fates become irreversibly entwined with theirs, which can only lead to destruction or salvation.
Seems simple enough, right? A classic fairytale plot with some twists regarding the characters and setting, and voila- An exciting retelling! To be fair, the book was really well executed in some parts, especially with the word choice, language, and world-building. The imagery was really clear and it definitely draws readers into the story pretty quickly. Obviously, the diversity of the characters was such a breath of fresh air in the YA scene, where representation is sorely lacking.
My biggest qualm with the book, however, is the lack of solid reasoning behind the plot and the characters' actions. I think this is a result of an abundance of explicit "telling" rather than showing, making characters' reactions seem a little exaggerated. For instance, when the two sisters fight over one love interest (one voluntarily, one for other motives), it seems like their bond is forever ruined over this person. That confused me because it had been reiterated over and over up to this point that they were really close, inseparable, etc., but now they deeply hated each other because of a boy?! Please.
With that being said, I am glad I read this book and recommend it to those looking for an entertaining and unique novel to your bookshelf!