You know by now that I enjoy me some literary mash-ups. Even though I thought the original PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES was overrated, the sequels more than made up for it (I especially enjoyed DREADFULLY EVER AFTER). And then I was lucky enough to review THE MEOWMORPHOSIS, the graphic novel PINOCCHIO THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Deggsy did that review), and other such fun zombie mash-ups like SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FLYING ZOMBIE DEATH MONKEYS, the Star Wars zombie novel DEATH TROOPERS, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING TREKKIES, in which there’s a zombie outbreak at a Star Trek convention. I enjoy them all and love a few of them!! So when author Bob McLain contacted me asking if I’d like to review his novella, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DEAD DWARFS, I thought about it for a second and then wrote back to McLain, “HELL yeah!!”
If there’s a more accurate title for a novel out there, I haven’t seen it!! We get exactly what we’re promised here: A zombie outbreak occurs in the Disney world of Snow White, and no one is safe from the threat of the quickly growing undead horde. But even though most of the world associates Snow White with Disney, McLain, in his Forward, tells us that he “based this story on the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.” Interesting choice. I never read the original Grimm “Snow White” story, but I can tell you that as twisted as the Grimm Brothers were, they got nothing on McLain!! McLain writes a really fun and fast-paced novella that tears through the usually happy and innocent world of Disney like a chainsaw through butter. All the characters are here: The Huntsman, the evil Queen, Snow White, all the Dwarfs (although their names have changed; more on this later), and a few extra characters get thrown into the mix to ensure a high body count.
I enjoy McLain’s writing style; it’s fast-paced and when it comes time for zombies tearing apart our most cherished childhood characters, he is extremely descriptive. After the initial outbreak, the action ends up at the seven dwarfs little cottage where the little guys try and barricade themselves up and fight off the ravenous undead horde surrounding their home. To avoid copyright infringement (I’d sooner fuck with a platoon of the undead before messing with Disney lawyers!!) McLain changes the names of the dwarfs to Grouchy, Sawbones, Gesundheit, Reticent, Dippy, Sluggish, and Grinny. I think it’s pretty easy to determine which is which. And this might be an influence from the Brothers Grimm story, but the dwarfs in SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DEAD DWARFS kick some serious ass!! Sure they work in their gold and precious stones’ mine and sing and have fun, but they also drive pick axes through zombie skulls and have no problem putting their fellow dwarves down as they succumb to the virus.
We don’t get a whole lot of detailed writing here as McLain keeps everything on the surface. There’s no background stories on any of the characters and there’s no superfluous side plots going on. We only get the main story of the zombie outbreak affecting the “universe” of Snow White. But we do get the promise of more mayhem to come in other Disney kingdoms:
High above, the blue bird circled, tweeting in outrage at the carnage that had come to its forest. As [name left out to avoid a spoiler] was devoured, the blue bird turned and flew as fast as it could to Cinderella’s Kingdom.
It didn’t see … two of the dead Dwarfs pointing with two fingers to its flight. Their moans caught the attention of the others.
I sure hope Cinderella can sharped the tips of her glass slippers!!
McLain is actually planning on expanding the carnage and violence of the SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DEAD DWARFS novella into a full length novel, ONCE UPON A ZOMBIE, in which
flesh-eating, blood-swilling ghouls tear through fairy tale lands featuring such childhood favorites as Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and many others. And Winnie the Pooh. Yes, it’s a damn shame, but Winnie the Pooh, too.
I say go for it Bob, but I’d like to see a more mature writing style for the full-length novel, and I have no doubt McLain has it in him. The style in the novella works but I can see it getting tiresome in a full-length book.
Fast-paced and violent with a lot of zombie carnage (seriously; A LOT) make SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DEAD DWARFS a really fun read. If the literary mash-up can take on Franz Kafka, then why not Disney? Hell, Disney is a plump, fresh apple ready to be picked and zombified, and McLain is off to a good start. Check this one out, it’s available in kindle edition from amazon.com here.
Author: Bob McLain
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 7.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 5 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer