I was in the mood for some fairy tales, and I saw this on the shelf at the library.
I really wanted to like it. Instead, I kept reading because I was sure it was going to get good at some point. The premise sounded interesting, but the plot was convoluted, annoying, and historically meh. There was so much Maguire could have done with this that he passed over, such as the established moral ambiguity of his "dwarfs," which were closer to rock spirits than actual dwarfs.
They started out as interesting possibilities, lacking in much emotion and as slow-moving as a quick-paced ent. But Maguire couldn't figure out what they looked like, opting for vague waves at cloven hoofs and stone bodies instead of presenting any type of description. I could have gotten over it, but they really had no motivation to care about the humans in the story other than that the story of Snow White demanded it.
I didn't either, really. The only character who interested me -- an Italian woman named Primavera. Really? Really? -- was quite forcibly silenced partway through the novel. There was some Biblical allegory thrown in, some menstrual blood symbolism that didn't really seem to have a point, and a chick who had at some point had sex with a squid. Also, what? I want to read about that person because she is infinitely more interesting than anything that happened in this story.
Maguire picked the worst people he could come up with and cast them as the villains in his story. As a result, this is a forced Snow White adaptation which is less interested in the actual narrative than in writing a love letter to the Borgias. Especially Lucrezia, by whom the author seems fascinated but is instead conveyed as an unsympathetic, dull, and stereotypical femme fatale.
I give this book a giant "whatever."