Review: Dead Princess Walking

I was recently offered an opportunity to read Dead Princess Walking, the first book in a new series by L.M. Schukraft. The book is an original adaptation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," but reads more like a cross between the movies Snow White and the Huntsman and The Wizard of Oz. It is a high fantasy adventure featuring a magically inclined Snow White at the forefront. There were lots of fun and colorful characters that reminded me of Disney sidekicks. The biggest downside to the book is that it doesn't have a conclusive ending. However, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger either, which is good because the next book isn't out yet.

Dead Princess Walking introduces us to a unique fae world that reminds me of Oz due to its sleep-inducing poppy fields, magical inhabitants, and history of powerful women. It follows the journey of an empowered Snow White, who awakens her inner magic upon learning about her fae blood. Snow White discovers pretty quickly that her magic can do just about anything that she wants it to, so she can come off as a bit of a Mary Sue at times. There are no spells to learn or scrolls to study for her to invoke her abilities, so her only limit is her own self-confidence. She is a more active heroine than many of Snow White characters we have seen in the past. The Huntsman character joins her for the majority of her journey, which parallels the version of Snow White that Kristen Stewart portrayed in 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman.

What really sold this book for me was the sidekicks. When Snow White leaves her castle to escape her evil stepmother and discover her enchanted kingdom, she encounters the wood sprites, pixie-like creatures decked out in plants and flowers. Their leader, Binks, is a spunky know-it-all that advises Snow White about her mission in his own blunt and comedic way. He reminded me of an animated that Eddie Murphy would portray, such as Mushu from Mulan or Donkey from Shrek. It was also fun to learn about the differences between wood sprite and human cultures. There are also seven magical beings that Snow White must seek out in order to stop her wicked stepmother that represent this story's version of the seven dwarfs. Even though we only meet one of them in this book, it seems as though they each have a magical or emotional connection to the fairy tales within this world.

Dead Princess Walking is one of those adaptations that doesn't really need to be an adaptation because it stands up so well on its own. There's no poison comb, corset, or apple. In fact, we see very little of the evil queen outside the book's introduction. Most of it is about Snow White's magical quest to save the kingdom that is reminiscent of Dorothy's quest down the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz. There is also very little romance. Snow White does not fall in love with a prince and seems far more likely to fall for the Huntsman if the author continues to take the Snow White and the Huntsman route. A significant difference between those two versions is that the Snow White in Dead Princess Walking uses magic to defend herself against her enemies, which is more interesting than a sword and armor in my opinion.

If you're looking for a new and original interpretation of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" or a magical adventure story about a faery princess, Dead Princess Walking is for you. It's a lot of fun and never takes itself too seriously. The Snow White in this story has unlimited magical potential that she is always improving with the help of her zany and colorful friends. Binks and the other wood sprites gave the book a comedic spin that made me wish I could read more about them. It's also great for fairy tale lovers in general because the book makes references to other fairy tales that exist within the same magical world. I predict this series will have seven books for the seven dwarf-like creatures that Snow White must find. However, this is the only one available for now, so check it out if you can!


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