This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Flatiron Books. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Source: Flatiron Books
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
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.
Centuries before there was a castle where Queen Sybil had resided and it had the most beautiful gardens. One in particular was called the Queen’s Garden for Queen Sybil. Queen Sybil had only one child and when she lost her child to an accident, the Queen could not bear it and in her grief, she hung herself in her garden. Her death sparked a drastic seasonal change and it began to snow in the northern half of the kingdom and her castle froze. This half of the kingdom entered into an eternal winter and that area became known as Whitespring and the Queen’s Garden became known as the Shade Garden.
Years ago, there was a king and his queen and they were in love. The queen tragically passed on but not without leaving a legacy, their child Princess Lynet. The King loved Lynet but treated her like she was a frail bird in a gilded cage. When Lynet was very young, a woman was brought into her life, a woman that she found most interesting. Although this woman, Mina, had her own reasons for befriending Lynet, she was never particularly cruel to Lynet. Mina had her eye on the prize and she was willing to use any tool necessary. Although it was not the King’s plan when Mina came to his kingdom, He ended up marrying Mina and she soon to be stepmother Lynet. Lynet was excited about having a mother and she admired Mina and wanted to emulate her in all ways.
You would think that her father, the King, would be overjoyed at this budding relationship, but he was not. In fact, he went to many lengths to keep distance between Mina and Lynet. The King wanted Lynet to be queen. He only married Mina in a moment of weakness and never intended for her to rule. She was more of a place warmer until he felt that Lynet was ready to lead. All Mina wanted was to be loved and the cruelty that she endured throughout her life was truly sad. I felt for this character as much as I cursed this character. So many times, I wanted her to see what was in front of her, to see things for what they truly were. Sometimes though, in the case of both these women, we are what others have led us to believe and truth is not always clear.
Both Mina’s and Lynet’s characters desperately desired to feel what they were told they could not. They made their own cages and kept themselves trapped within. It took a tragedy to shake things up and even then, the barriers that were needed to overcome were almost insurmountable. The push and pull between Lynet and Mina was breathtakingly beautiful. Lynet was so courageous and she never gave up on love. She gave up everything to show the overwhelming love that she possessed. I found the dynamics between Mina and Lynet to be beautiful and haunting. There were several moments where I was overcome with emotion for these characters. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a story that I thought about for days after I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed the way the story was told and it was very memorable for me.
With all this said there were a few things that kept me from absolutely loving this story. There was very little in the way of world building. What there was gave me a very one dimensional view of the world. The King, seriously the way he obsessed about his daughter being his wife’s doppelgänger, scares me to think of where that would go in a few years. Lastly, the story was primarily character driven and the plot was slow moving at points. There were elements thrown in here and there to spice things up so to speak but really this story was about the relationship and struggle between Lynet and Mina.
Was this truly a retelling of Snow White? Yes, this was a very imaginative retelling with original twists that spun the tale in a totally new direction. It was inventive and unpredictable. When you finish the entire story, and reflect on all the similarities between the Snow White tale you know and this story, a slow smile will grow on your face as you realize the brilliance that is Girls Made of Snow and Glass. This story was just beautiful and I highly recommend it to all readers!
*Thank you to Flatiron Books for this ARC of Girls Made of Snow and Glass*