Orion Children’s Books, 2007
Audience: All Teens
It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out - the Russian Revolution has just begun...
Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had first run away to Russia to collect fairy tales.
Told as three linked novellas, part one captures the days of revolution but retells the story as Russian Fairy Tale, with typical humour and unashamed brutality. Part two is a spy story, set over the course of one evening, as Ransome faces up to his biggest challenge, and part three is a love story, full of tragedy and hope, as every good Russian love story should be.
I absolutely LOVED part one. I flew through it and loved the fairy tale/historical lens. It was just magical and Rasputin creeps me out and I find his story so interesting!
Part two, however, got really political and hard to follow. I didn’t like it at all. I couldn’t tell who was on which side and it was such a big change from part one! I think I got whiplash.
By part three, I was slightly more interested, but I disliked the main character so much, I didn’t care whether or not he was happy (and I was still confused about which side he was on.)
Overall, it was just ok - but I really wish it had all been like part one. I understand that Blood Red, Snow White was a strong piece of well-written literature. However, that wasn’t really what I was looking for. I wanted an entertaining, fairy tale retold. (Although I did appreciate a lot of the historical fiction facts, and the author’s note at the end.)