The fairest of them all is packing heat.
I frequently suffer from insomnia, but don't mind being awake at 3 am if I have a book by Catherynne M. Valente to read. I'm particularly lucky that she is as prolific as she is profoundly great.
An author of work for children and adults, short stories and long fiction, Six-Gun Snow White is Valente's novella-length take on the classic fairy tale. Set in the Wild West, Snow White is a half-native, half-white child of a silver baron. Her wicked stepmother calls her Snow White to remind her of what she will never be. Snow White is overworked, abused and nearly dies before setting off on her own.
Unlike the Disney version of the tale, Valente's Snow White is one tough cookie who won't be found cooking and cleaning for dwarves. She quickly learns to hold her own in the gritty world of barroom brawls, miners and would-be killers set on her path. This Snow White is not waiting for a prince to rescue her-- although her horse is named Charming-- and she won't be duped by a shiny red apple.
Valente's version of an old story is original, moving and magical; imbued with new life that crackles and stuns.
As for the author, I want to believe Valente labors over each and every word in her carefully crafted sentences, but I suspect writing comes easy to her. I'm jealous of her talent, but can't hold a grudge because I reap the rewards. Keep the books coming, Catherynne!