Author: 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?
A Mirror Mended is the second novel in the Fractured Fairy Tales series, which follows Zinna Gray, who was diagnosed with a terminal condition while living in her hometown in Ohio with events that led her to wake up in the Sleeping Beauty story in the first novel. This story follows Zinna fives years later where she is continuing her quest to rescue Sleeping Beauties, and it is getting monotonous. There is a sudden change where Zinnia no longer finds herself with the Sleeping Beauty story as she now entered the world of Snow White. As the two books in this series feature the same main character in a continuous timeline, it is best if the reader completes the stories in order.
While Zinna has been focusing on helping princesses, the Evil Queen, Eva, from Snow White wishes to escape her fate and seeks out Zinna to assist. The two become reluctantly connected as Eva is determined to find a new ending for herself. The two characters nicely balance each other even though they initially seem on opposite ends with Zinna, the hero, and Eva, the villain; however, they find similarities in their feelings and goals. The more the two spend time together, the more they begin to connect with some romantic tension brewing between them. As the story is on the shorter side, everything moves at a faster pace, but it did not feel rushed. There is enough time for the reader to recall the characters/events from the first story while establishing the new ones without feeling like they are missing a lot of information.
While there is the escapism in the fairy tale side of the story, there is also a heavier emotional side as Zinnia tries to figure out approaching her illness. Using this multiverse of stories to escape helps her forget about it for a short time, but she is trying to figure out if continuing that path is best or if she should be focusing on those that she will be sad to leave behind. Zinna is a lot more jaded in this story compared to the previous, but her mindset is easy to understand and the reader can sympathize with her and her situation. The ending ties itself up in a way where this could be a satisfying fit to the duology, but the world of fairy tales is endless where there could be more added in some shape or form, whether there are some characters in the continuation or if it is just the same universe. Overall, this was a very fun fairy tale with a twist. There are interesting and heartful themes that are explored in a thoughtful manner. While it looks like this is set up as a duology, I hope that the author expands it in some way as I would love to read more!
**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordotcom, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**