Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books; scheduled for September, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Re-telling, Fairy-tale
I AM SO HAPPY ABOUT SO MANY THINGS RIGHT NOW! 1) I get to give a THIRD great review in a row! 2) I managed three reviews in one week! 3) This book is phenomenal and I am still super emotional and maybe gently weeping.
When I heard the premise of Girls Made of Snow and Glass, mainly that it was a feminist re-telling of Snow White, I thought: oh hell yes. Then I thought: that’s going to be crazy, because the premise of Snow White is literally Woman A wants Woman B dead because Woman B is prettier than her.
Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale
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.
Is amazing! It’s dark, y’all. I LOVE the idea so much. The twists on the Queen’s obsession with mirrors is phenomenal. I was trying to figure out how well it sticks to the Snow White story, and it actually does fairly closely, minus the dwarves. But everything is new and different; the poisoning is so cool, the huntsman is amazing.
The magic! Is so cool! We have one woman with a heart of glass and one girl made of snow and it’s just so unbelievably cool.
I did a review recently of a re-telling that I didn’t love, and a big problem for me was that the re-telling rested on the novelty of the original story in a lot of ways, and it was lazy and didn’t make sense for something new and modern. This is a PERFECT re-telling with the understanding that we don’t want to read a fucking story about women who want each other dead over who’s prettiest, or a girl waiting desperately for a kiss from a prince.
ARE SO GOOD. And for the record, this is a very character-driven book. We’ll talk about it a little more when we talk about the writing.
This is my favorite part about the story, so I hope I can even do justice to what I want to say without it being a rambling mess.
So we have Lynet, the Snow White character, who is young and dealing with identity issues. Her father had her created to look JUST like her mother, and wants her to behave just like her mother (creepy af, right? Some serious creepy dad shit in this book). Lynet just wants to be her own person. OH YEAH, and she’s queer! Her budding romance with a surgeon named Nadia is so effing cute.
Then we have Mina, the stepmom or “evil queen” character. Now, she’s less likable than Lynet fo sho, but I also think she’s a WAY better character. She, for me, is what makes this book so beautiful. Her father has consistently told her she cannot love or be loved, because her heart is made of glass. Her father AND her husband are obsessed with Lynet, and we watch how it affects her. So we don’t get a tale of hatred or evil, but of resentment. And what is more real than that? We also don’t see Mina mindlessly hating Lynet because she’s beautiful, but because she’s the spitting image of the former queen, the one Mina’s husband will always love, even though he doesn’t love Mina. We get such a clear understanding of why she’s obsessed with mirrors, why she’s crazy about her looks. It’s amazing. I can’t say enough about it.
And again, we have two creepy dads who I thoroughly love hating.
So! The writing is gorgeous. It alternates timelines, which if you’ve read some of my past reviews, you know I’m weary of. This can be SO hard to pull off, but it works so well in this case! We alternate between the current story, which is third person but following Lynet, and the past timeline, which is also third person and following Mina. The slow reveal of details in the past timeline helps the new timeline make more and more sense, and it’s perfect.
The pacing, I will say, has a couple of issues. This is the ONLY thing in the book I wasn’t totally enamored with, and I gave it five stars anyway. I saw that most reviews are glowing, and the few that DNF’d the book all did so at a slower point that you have to push through to get to the action! Now I will say I never had problems pushing through, I love this book from the first to the last page. But I did notice some slowing in a few areas, and I think it’s worth noting.
Lynet and Nadia being queer is amazing and beautiful and I love f/f romances and how I’m seeing more of them.
Also, we have two (really three) leading ladies who are well-developed, full beings. We get to see friendship and mother/daughter issues and love and all through the eyes of women who are wonderfully varied. They don’t have to give up all things traditionally feminine to be smart, strong women.
Is that I haven’t had a book make me cry in a while. This one did, probably three times. The last line was just, ugh. I mean this as such a big compliment.
I would recommend Girls Made of Snow and Glass to absolutely everyone! Request it on NetGalley, my fellow book bloggers!
*Note: My reviews are full of opinions. I may love a book. May want to marry it like the kid in the commercial for Peanut Butter Crunch (1999 was a great year for cereal and commercials, look it up). I may say a book is the best thing to happen to me since I started shaving my big toe. None of these things mean it is objectively good. I recognize that. Many times throughout my life, I have given a book I swore to be a life-changer to a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/balloon animal artist. Shaking, quietly weeping, I’d hand it (and my heart) over. Only to find out several weeks later that for them the book was good, maybe even great, but not the life-giving, soul-renewing magic I’d purported. You may not like a book I recommend. Sue me.
**Please don’t sue me, I just write here.