Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publishing Date: September 5th, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
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.
**A massive thanks to MacMillan International for giving me the opportunity of hosting this PH blog tour and for providing us eARCs and ARCs. This, by any means did not affect nor influence my review**
I want to start this review by saying that Girls Made of Snow and Glass is just so beautiful I couldn’t ask for more.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a beautiful tale of women making their own legacy, reshaping their stories and triumphing in a world where people doesn’t want nor expect them to be powerful. It is a reimagining of Snow White and is pitched as a “feminist YA retelling of Snow White perfect for fans of Frozen and The Bloody Chamber”.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass was told on alternating point of views of Mina (the stepmother) and Lynette (the Snow White). The first half of the book mostly tells us about these girls’ pasts, how Mina’s heart became a glass and how she made her climb to the top and became the queen, the story behind how and why Lynette was made out of snow and how Mina and Lynette’s relationship started and became deep.
One thing among many that is worth applauding for in this book is its intricate characters. Each characters were not so easy to figure. They possess this complexity real persons also have. I was so moved by them. I loved them, and I connected to them. They were all unique. And all of them had an on point development and played their roles perfectly.
Mina’s heart is made of Glass. Lynet is made out of snow. Mina has always been told by her father that she was nothing. She was told that because of that heart made of glass inside her chest, no one will truly love her. And she is not capable of loving – not even her own self. While Lynet was always treated by people like she’s her mother. That she is not the Princess Lynet who loves climbing trees and doing things that are dangerous but her mother, the dead Queen, who is soft and delicate. Her father, the King, always treat her delicately and expect her to follow her late mother’s stead. Mina struggle to feel. Lynet struggle to find who she really is.
Mina, she is such a complex and amazing one. And I do love her a lot. She’s a broken one yet she showed the most strength above them all. She’s the one who suffered from being mistreated by her own father and growing from a dysfunctional family. But I cared, I loved and I rooted for her. Mina, just like the stepmother of Snow White we are accustomed to also shows an “evil queen” side – which should make the readers hate her immediately. But because the first half of the book was spent showing us the past of Mina and Lynette, we did know where Mina is coming from. And that did a lot on changing the tables and making us love the supposedly-evil-queen-stepmother instead. It totally prevented me from despising her. I wanted to hug her instead. There are so many times I badly wanted to go literally inside the book and hug her tight and tell her that she is capable of loving and that she is loved.
I also loved Lynet. Her character is such an intricate one. Lynet showed the most compassion among them all. She was afraid to become like her mother because that’s what everyone’s expecting of her. I love the journey she had of self-discovery. And I admire Lynet’s compassion and idealism. She’s the type who doesn’t give up just as easily. And she is so easy to connect with. And she’s not your ordinary princess.
And another thing that I really loved was that, it wasn’t Mina (the stepmother) who is the villain here but another one that might surprise you.
The story didn’t just revolve around the two main characters personal dilemmas. But also tackled father-daughter, mother-daughter and f/f relationships which makes the book more interesting because we are witnessing different stories in one book. From family, to friendship, to romantic relationship, to politics, they were all present.
The winning aspect of this book is the complex mother-daughter relationship of Mina and Lynet I haven’t seen before portrayed in YA, let alone in a Snow White retelling. Girls Made of Snow and Glass shows the complexity of a relationship that can happen between a stepmother and a daughter. Bashardoust gave us a very touching and beautiful story of a stepmother who just wants to be loved and is doing everything to protect and not to loose everything left she has even if it means being rival with her stepdaughter. And a daughter who just wants to get her stepmother back and prove that they can live without killing each other and that they can both live and triumph together. If this complex mother-daughter relationship won’t have an effect with you, I don’t know what will.
I also loved how Mina and the huntsman Felix’s story was brought into spotlight. Felix himself is such another complex character – especially that he was wholly made out of glass who slowly learned how to be human. Felix is just another character I loved so much.
I loved that this book wasn’t focused on the romance, including the f/f relationship between Nadia and Lynet. I loved how even with Nadia’s presence, the story was still about our two main characters and not about Lynet and Nadia’s love story. Though I honestly wish to see more of Lynet and Nadia’s love story now that the book was over. I really wish for a sequel.
This book has a slow pace. What’s great was that, slow pace stories mostly irritate me because they’re subject to boring the heck out of me. But in this book, I even preferred it that way. I think I wouldn’t enjoy this as much as I did if it was fast paced.
The ending was so beautiful I can’t find the right words to express how much I loved that one. It is just so beautiful. I felt so fulfilled even though there were some little questions left unanswered. It’s so fulfilling.
Stalking was somehow present in this book for a few chapters in the beginning which initially made me feel uncomfortable because I really don’t like the idea of being stalked. I got scared by the idea of this book romanticizing stalking because I was really loving it so far that time so I didn’t want to dislike it just because of that. Fortunately, it wasn’t romanticized.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass was billed as a “feminist” YA retelling which is the main reason I was so excited for this book aside from that it retells my favorite classic fairytale of all time. Sure enough, Girls Made of Snow and Glass introduces us to powerful, strong, compassionate women that shows the extent of what women can do, how we are capable of things other people – especially men, thought we cannot do. That princesses doesn’t always want to be saved, that queens aren’t just to stand in the side of her king while he’s ruling the world. That princesses are capable of saving others too and queens can rule the world too. I love how Bashardoust chose to gave us these messages. This is a book I would love for my future kids to read.
For a debut novel, this is surprisingly an astounding one. Melissa Bashardoust swept me off my feet. I can’t wait to see what more she can offer. I can’t wait to be swept once more.
Overall, Girls Made of Snow and Glass is such a unique take on our favorite classic fairytale Snow White, introduces us to new intricate characters that we will unexpectedly care for, root for and love, shows us complex relationships, gives us a timely wonderful message, and will leave us feeling utterly satisfied and wishing for all tales to be as beautiful as this. I recommend Girls Made of Snow and Glass.
Melissa Bashardoust (pronounced BASH-ar-doost) received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel.
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Q: What drew you to the Snow White story?
Snow White has two of my favorite female character archetypes: the evil queen and the innocent ingénue. For a while, I had been thinking about the ways these two character types are always set at odds with each other in narratives—the good girl vs. the evil woman—and the way we as the audience also tend to demonize one on the other’s behalf. But…what if you love both? What if you can admire both the compassion and idealism of the ingénue as well as the strength and resilience of the evil queen? What if they admire these things in each other? Why do my two favorite character types always have to hate each other??? When I first started jotting down ideas for a Snow White retelling, I was thinking about writing from the POV of just the queen, but over time I realized that the story of Snow White was the perfect playground for me to finally explore the dynamics between these two archetypes that I love so dearly. And from there, I ended up honing in on the themes in Snow White that interested me most: dysfunctional family dynamics, complex mother/daughter relationships, and the ways women are set up to be rivals.
Q: Girls Made of Snow and Glass is billed as a “feminist fairy tale.” Is it time to stop telling young children the sort of princess-rescued-by-prince stories we grew up with?
I think it’s not so much a matter of universally never telling a certain story anymore, but rather not to tell ONLY that one story. We all come to stories with different life experiences and different needs at different times of our lives. Sometimes you want to project yourself into a princess who is rescued by a prince, maybe because you need to remind yourself that you’re worth saving. But sometimes you need something different. Sometimes you need to know you can rescue yourself. Sometimes you want to be the one rescuing someone else. The danger comes in presenting children with only one vision of the world, or telling them they have to fit themselves into a specific mold. Stories should let you explore different paths and find different versions of yourself, even contradictory ones.
August 28: Afire Pages – Review & Author Q&A
August 29: Stay Bookish – Review & Quote Posters
August 30: Read by Nicka – Review & “Why Is Feminism In YA Important?”
August 31: Blue Lily and Blue – Review
September 1: Descendant of Poseidon Reads – Review
September 4: Amidst the Pages – Review & Mood Board
September 5: The Nocturnal Fey – Review & Playlist
Ends on September 28, 2017. Open INTL.
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