Girls Made of Snow and Glass. Melissa Bashardoust. LGBT/Young adult/Fantasy/Retelling. 2017. 400 pages. 4 stars.
One day they would both start to see each other differently, and Mina couldn’t imagine how they could become anything but enemies on that day.
I received a copy from Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Well, this has got to be one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in 2017. I was never a fan of Snow White—hated her, actually—but this book made me think otherwise. I loved Girls Made of Snow and Glass! Melissa Bashardoust gave it a spin that I never anticipated. It felt very original—the content of this story—despite being a retelling.
We follow Lynet’s and Mina’s lives in alternating and nonlinear timelines for the first half to get most of the backstories before merging again in the present. In Lynet’s POV, Mina is already her stepmother but in the first few POVs of Mina, we see her as a sixteen year old girl, plucked from the South and taken to court thanks to his magician of a dad. It was interesting to see the story of Snow White told from both sides because we only get to see one side and these strong characters had their own motives for doing what they did.
Mina’s role as the stepmother didn’t feel inherently evil at all. In fact, she is every YA heroine we wanted to read about! She was fierce, determined, and strong willed. Her childhood experiences explained her dreams and motivations. I understood her as a character. For all the resentment she had towards Lynet for taking what was left of her, I could feel her hesitation because she’d grown attached. It takes a great writer to be able to convey that in very few words.
Lynet is the sheltered princess. Unlike Snow White, Lynet was vert close to her stepmother, Mina. Even to the point of preferring her over her deceased mother, Emilia. She is brave, driven by her heart, and reminded me so much of Merrida from Brave! Such a headstrong character who went for what she wanted. AND ALSO SHE IS QUEER!!!!!!!!!! I loved that about her. We get to see her explore her sexuality because all her life she had only known of romantic relationships between men and women. BUT SUCK IT SOCIETY, LYNET CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL SHE WANTS.
Other characters that interested me were Felix, Gregory, and Nicholas, but in a female driven book such as this, I can’t be bothered to pay that much attention to them.
The plot was surprisingly slow, but I have no complaints because the exquisite writing of Bashardoust kept me reading on and on and on. The first half was mostly about character building and establishing conflicts before taking off at the second half. I loved exploring Mina’s and Lynet’s powers. So different, yet so alike! Cut from the same stone.
Overall, I was very happy with this book and feel honored to have received an ARC from Flatiron Books via Netgalley!