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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
"He grasped the blood-sodden blanket that covered her corpse and lifted it from her head. Her face was as delicate as he remembered. Her pallor, however, which once resembled that of snow, had changed into a bloodless mask." Snow White is dead. Enemies? She had none according to her closest companions. She was well-liked by all. Is it simply a random act of rage and cruelty? Nobody knows and the mysterious murderer has long gone to who knows where. Johannes Wynpenny vows to hunt down his daughter's killer. Unfortunately, the deaths continue, and prominent residents of the fairy tale land meet their demise one by one in E. Stuart Marlowe's Pauper King. Can Johannes stop the elusive murderer before he becomes a victim himself?
If anyone wants to imagine the classic fairy tales in a different and twisted perspective, Pauper King serves the purpose. Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, and other beloved classics that readers know from childhood have something in common according to E. Stuart Marlowe; these memorable characters are much more flawed and they’re all in danger. The violence is dark and jarring. It’s saturated with all sorts of magic and curses to satisfy the characters' bitterness, anger, and vengeance. Although his fortitude is admirable, the grieving and remorseful protagonist Johannes, fueled by his quest for justice, is outsmarted by the perpetrator by a mile. I gravitated more towards his guardian Fenn and his sly enemy who outshine him and others in terms of composure during crucial moments. A reimagined fairy tale for adults filled with blood and gore, this is quite a read from Marlowe.