Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: P. W. Catanese
Twins Bert and Will are separated for the summer: Bert is sent off to his Uncle Hugh’s mountain fortress while Will stays home to train with Andreas the knight. Bert discovers a secret chamber housing the mirror the Witch Queen used to plot against Snow White, Bert and Will’s descendant. Bert reawakens the mirror, but is poisoned by it’s power. Before he is fully enslaved, Bert writes a letter to Will about the mirror. The courier, Parley, tries to deliver Bert’s letter, but he is captured by the Dwergh—the elusive miners that once saved Snow White. Parley relates the letter and the Dwergh join Will, Parley, and Andreas to save Bert and destroy the mirror. Meanwhile, the mirror deceives Bert and passes it’s influence onto Hugh. Using a magic amulet to shield themselves from the mirror, Will’s party defeats Hugh and releases Bert, who then breaks the mirror and ends it’s power.
Catanese’s book may be based on fairy tale, but the problems Bert and Will encounter—addiction, deceit, and low self-esteem—are real issues many face. When Bert finds the mirror, it’s deluding influence makes Bert forget how it ruined the lives of Snow White and the Witch Queen. Like most addictions, the mirror seems harmless and enjoyable at first. Then, slowly, the mirror breaks down Bert’s reason and turns him against his family. When the mirror betrays Bert, he still feels sickly dependent for the mirror’s attention. Only Will’s love and the ugly truth behind the mirror helps Bert to destroy it’s addictive hold on him. A rich read for ages twelve and up.