ARC Review: A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.

Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone.

Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request, and save them both from the hot iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path? 

I’ve been ecstatic since I saw the announcement of this book because I had assumed A Spindle Splintered was a standalone but I’m so glad this exists. And I just had to read it as soon as I got my arc because how can I wait.

Did I just forget how funny and snarky the first book was or did the author just take it all up a notch, I don’t know. But the main character Zinnia’s internal monologue as well as most of the things that come out of her mouth are very sassy and outright hilarious. She is ofcourse employing this tactic so that she doesn’t have to show her vulnerable side or face her own reality, but is prepared to dive into universe after universe to save different versions of princesses from their terrible fates, just so that she doesn’t have to face hers. But this time, she is in for something different.

When she comes face to face with the Evil Queen from a different fairytale, Snow White, she is not prepared for it – how do you help a woman who is also probably actively trying to torture you? Their interactions go from bitter to snarky to forced to honest, showing a growth in both their characters. Zinnia understands that she can find her happiness within her life without worrying about when it will end, and the Evil Queen learns that she doesn’t always have to make choices just to survive, she can also make them to live a life on her terms. We also get some little cameos which prove to be the necessary catalysts for our two characters’ growth; and we also get to see how the story of Snow White and the Evil Queen gets warped into different versions across realms, where the lines get blurred between heroine and villain, between good and evil. Add in some chaos across the multiverse, and it makes for an exciting romp of a novella.

Overall, it was a delight. I loved being back in this world and I liked this ending because it felt hopeful for everyone involved. If you are someone who likes fractured fairytales with lots of humor, sassy women and some very interesting feminist takes on the age old tales, do go for this series. While I couldn’t get access to the audiobook this time around, I’ll probably still recommend that format because I remember the narrator bringing a lot more personality to the story and just overall making the humor come alive. 

PS: Thank you to Tordotcom and Netgalley for providing me with the advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

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    1. I think I liked both on the same level.. but the enjoyment of the first was enhanced for me because of the lovely audiobook… very fun narration..

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