Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review -- Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

The modern retelling of classic fairy tales craze and genre is still going steam ahead. Now sometimes, I wish it would stop. But then a book like this comes along and your brain just goes YES.

This book is basically take the movie Frozen and have it meet The Bloody Chamber and you have Girls Made of Snow and Glass. This is a feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale as you've never seen it before, tracing the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start: the beautiful princess and stepmother queen.
Here is the book description: At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother. Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all. Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story. It is set to be published on September 5, 2017.

In terms of retellings, this is one of the more imaginative ones I’ve read. I can’t really spoil. You have to read it for yourself. But really, the new elements added were so delightful and creative, yet stick to the spirit of the tale. With one exception, obviously, for Mina and Lynet’s relationship.

This book’s chief strength is the character work. Mina’s character arc is extremely well-written and developed. Her character isn’t so much morally ambiguous as troubled and self-hating but I found her combination of self-hatred and confidence so realistic and definitely relatable.

The things I did not like was the miscommunication and assumptions as a plot device. It’s always frustrating and usually makes me like the character a little bit less. I can understand where Lynet was coming from and why she acted rashly, and didn’t want to hear any explanations. But as the reader, we know more than her, we know she should stop and listen, so it was mildly frustrating that she didn’t. Also there was very little world building. We get to see a bit of both the North and the South, but we don’t really get much history, their culture, or customs. I would have liked to know more about the fantastical world that Mina and Lynet reside in.

You definitely want to pick up this book in September. This books definitely highlights feminism such that it stresses the importance of females helping females and they can coexist peacefully, unlike real life and maybe real life should take a lesson from this. The reader will understand why as they read. This is a wonderful female empowerment fantasy novel. Definitely a recommend.

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