Published by Flatiron Books on September 5th 2017
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.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is an enchanting and unique take on the tale of Snow White. This character driven story mainly focuses on two young women. The first is Mina, who thanks to her magician father has a heart made of glass. Because of this, Mina is unable to love or feel for others, causing her to focus instead on obtaining power. Eventually she finally succeeds in her quest by marrying a widowed King, who has a young daughter named Lynet. Little does Mina know at the time, that her own father takes part in Lynet’s creation by making her out of snow upon the request of the king in the exact image of his dead wife. At first this is not a problem, but as Lynet grows up Mina starts to feel she could lose her power and position in court to Lynet.
Melissa Bashardoust does a brilliant job when it comes to creating and developing her characters. Mina believes that the ability to love will forever elude her. She pushes everyone away, but is desperately lonely and wanting of love. As the reader, you can’t help but feel a bit of compassion towards her, and even understanding. Though you still have concerns about her obsession with power and how calculating her mind can be.
Lynet has been living under the constant shadow of her dead mother. Even her own father is creepily obsessed with how much she looks like his departed wife. Lynet struggles to find her own identity, and takes dangerous risks to prove she isn’t a fragile delicate thing. Even so, Lynet is left wondering if she’ll ever be free of her mother’s ghost. As well as how she can be her own person without betraying Mina – the only mother she has ever known.
What I love the most about Girls Made of Snow and Glass is that the author does not follow all the core concepts of the original Snow White. This tale isn’t about an aging, bitter queen hating on the beautiful young princess. Their relationship is complex, like most mother/daughter relationships are. In the end they do work together to help one another, which isn’t what I was expecting. However, I'm happy that the author pushed away from the usual path most retellings take, and created something completely her own.
Aside from the wonderful character development, there are also some deeper and difficult themes that this novel addresses. From perceived gender roles, the relationship of Lynet and her father, and the complex relationship of a mother and daughter. All of which I am sure will make fantastic topics for discussion at any book club, or reading group.
While the world building needed more development and various plot points were not fully explained (i.e. Why/how Mina controls the Southern territories? ), I am still very much in love with what Melissa Bashardoust created within these pages (I want more!!!). It was refreshing to read a story that had such two very different, yet strong female points of view. Though the first half is on the “slower” side, it is necessary in order to give the reader the background needed for both characters, and to further their development.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a beautifully delicate and inventive snow-covered retelling that perfectly merges together the traditional Snow White with something delightfully new and unexpected. I would highly recommend it to all lovers of fairy tales, magic and femine empowerment.
Thank you to the Flatiron Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust goes on sale Sept 5th, 2017, click here to find out about the sparkly gift you can receive if you preorder this magical book.