Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie Mclemore

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts. (taken from Amazon)

See, here’s the thing: I really wanted to like this book. It’s a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red, with some Swan Lake mixed in. I love the Swan Lake story, so I was hoping for something at least a little entertaining. Unfortunately, this book didn’t deliver in my opinion.

It’s told from several different points of view, which I think really hurt this book. Because the chapters were so short (between two and four pages), having four characters narrate made it impossible to get to know any of them enough to care about them at all. At times I struggled to remember which point of view I was reading, because the character voices were all written the same.

Because of the nature of the magic, I expected a sense of urgency, which would have added to the book. It wasn’t there, and I was left feeling very bored a lot of the time. I almost gave up on the book, actually.

I did like that the familiar tale was remade with Latina sisters. I’ve never seen that done with a fairy-tale re-imagining, and it was really cool. The bits of cultural additions shone through because the author wrote those with confidence.

I felt that McLemore’s writing was very tentative, like she didn’t have confidence in her storytelling. I thought maybe this was her debut book, and she would gain faith in herself, but I’ve found out that she has several others which are award winners, so that must just be what I inferred from her writing style.

I guess when it comes right down to it, this author isn’t for me. I have a feeling that my opinion isn’t the popular one, though, so maybe I missed something.

Have you read this, or any of McLemore’s other books? Thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie Mclemore

  1. Ah multiple perspectives… it’s one of those things that has to be used so carefully because I think there are so many examples where it doesn’t work…

    Liked by 1 person

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