Girls Made Of Snow And Glass- Melissa Bashardoust
My Review - 5 Stars
Tell me a book is a fairy tale retelling and I will want to get my hands on it immediately. Tell me it's about Snow White and I'll want to read it that much more, if only because it doesn't seem to be as popular of fodder as other fairy tales. I can only think of one other Snow White retelling I've read and given how many retellings I've read over the years, that's pretty sad.
Retellings can go in many directions but the best make it entirely their own. Such is the case with Girls Made Of Snow And Glass.
Bashardoust gives us the outlines of the Snow White story but reinvents the details and we are left with a stunning, magical tale, one which centers the female characters and their relationships. In fact, most of the male characters in this story creeped me out and for good reason.
In this version of Snow White, Mina is the wicked stepmother and Lynet is Snow White. Lynet adores her stepmother from the start, having been deprived of most relationships outside of her father. Mina doesn't really know what to do with Lynet at first but the two come to find their own rhythms and routine. This changes when Lynet grows older and societal forces begin to pit the two women against each other. The whole while the story asks us to consider who we know ourselves to be versus what others believe is true of us. The actions we take from this knowledge can drive our lives in different directions and that is precisely what happens to Mina and Lynet.
Take everything you know about Snow White's tale and throw it out the window because while the outline is there, this story is best experienced blind, each twist and turn becoming a revelation. My heart broke for both Mina and Lynet, for the ways they were limited by virtue of being women and for the ways people failed them and they failed themselves. I wanted Mina to make better choices and to experience the power of unconditional love. I wanted Lynet to grow a backbone and take charge of her life and decisions. I wanted them to find a way forward together.
See? Not your average Snow White story.
The magic elements were fascinating and served the plot well. I liked what it said about power and strength and the wisdom to know the difference. Bashardoust emphasizes some really important messages about women: that women are more than their parents' mistakes, more than society's limitations, more than shallow understandings of what beauty is. Mina and Lynet wrestle with these ideas in different ways but one of my most favorite was Lynet's burgeoning understanding of her sexuality. Instead of a prince, Lynet falls in love with a visiting female doctor and this leads to some of the sweetest, most tender moments in the story.
But the best moments were the scenes with Lynet and Mina. Their relationship is the driving force and we are never certain whether the characters will believe the best or worst about each other as we come toward the end.
Over and over we see how everyone deserves to be loved. The question is are we willing to accept that love? And what will we do to show our love for others?
I couldn't put this one down and I'm so glad the story swept me away.
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.
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Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.