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.
“Cold as snow, sharp as glass.”
-Melissa Bashardoust, Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is being marketed as a feminist fantasy fairy tale retelling. I one hundred percent agree with that. Feminist: yes. We have two main female characters, Lynet and Mina. Fantasy: yes. We have a magician who can create living creatures and some other characters who are able to manipulate aspects surrounding them into whatever they feel like creating. (Being vague here as this is a spoiler-free review.) Fairy-tale retelling: yes. This is a retelling of Snow White and I do believe the author did a great job at putting her own twist on the fairy tale. I was a big fan of this re-imagining of the classic story.
This story is very much a character-driven story. It focuses on Lynet and Mina and who they are and how they want to be perceived by those around them. The character development of this story is magnificent. If you want a story with more plot, then this isn’t the book for you. This book is also pretty slow paced. There were a few times where I had to force myself to keep reading because of the pacing. It wasn’t bad, just a little slow at times.
The story is told in rotating points of view between Lynet and Mina. For the first half of the book Mina’s point of view is the past, and Lynet’s point of view is the present. The second half of the book the two points of view merge into the present time. I found this layout of the book made the plot easy to follow.
“There would be no other chances, no other roles but the ones that had been set for them from the beginning–the bitter aging queen and the sweet young princess poised to take everything from her.”
-Melissa Bashardoust, Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Lynet is the primary main character and a princess. She grew up being constantly compared to her mother by everyone in the kingdom. Lynet never got the chance to know her mother since her mother died when she was born. She constantly struggled with trying to find herself, as her father, and basically everyone else expected her to be just as her mother once was. This book did a great job of showing how Lynet finally was able to be true to who she was as a person. I definitely preferred Lynet over Mina. I identified more with Lynet as she was the more caring and sweet character. She always thought about her father’s and stepmother’s feelings and just wanted to keep them both happy along with trying to stay true to herself. She is also just so full of love for her stepmother and father.
Mina is the secondary main character. She grew up without a mother and a father who constantly told her she wasn’t able to love or be loved. She is the misunderstood evil stepmom of the story. I can’t call her a villain because I don’t believe she ever was. Like I said, I believe her character was just misunderstood. She never grew up knowing what love was so she always believed that she was incapable of love. Mina always struggled with who she was and just wanted the affections of other people, so she believed by marrying Lynet’s father, the king, she would be loved by not only the king, but by the people of the kingdom as well. I had a harder time identifying with Mina, as she was very selfish and only thought about ways to raise her status in the kingdom. Some of the thoughts were just too cold for me to be able to identify with, as I am a very empathic person and am constantly thinking about other people’s feelings. Some of her thoughts would just never cross my mind. Fortunately, her character grows and develops as the story goes on.
One thing I want to touch on is the F/F romance that this book is being marketed as. While there is a F/F romance, it is hardly acknowledged at all. There was basically no romance until the last quarter of the book and even then I was pretty let down by it. I was expecting more. Don’t let this be the reason you pick up this book because you will be disappointed.
Overall, I think this book was a great re-imagining of Snow White with fantastical elements and magic. I do recommend this book to those who enjoy character-driven books or those who like fairy tale retellings. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and Melissa Bashardoust for an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.