Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Book Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa BashardoustGirls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Published by Flatiron Books on September 5th 2017
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

My Review: 

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.

 

Pre-Order Incentive:

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.

four-half-stars

Because You Love to Hate Me Blog Tour: Marissa Meyer and Zoë Herdt (Excerpt+Mini Review+Giveaway)

by Marissa Meyer
Published by Bloomsbury Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling, Young Adult

Welcome to the Because You Love to Hate Me blog tour! Today is my stop on the tour and I am super excited to share with you an excerpt of Marissa Meyer’s story The Sea Witch (story promoting by booktuber Zoë Herdt). Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for your chance to win your  very own copy of Because You Love to Hate Me and also to view the other stops on the tour (each featuring a different story/author).

Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Edited by: Ameriie
Authors: Renee AhdiehSoman ChainaniSusan DennardSarah EnniMarissa MeyerCindy PonVictoria SchwabSamantha ShannonAdam SilveraAndrew SmithApril Genevieve TucholkeNicola YoonSasha AlsbergBenjamin AldersonWhitney AtkinsonTina BurkeCatriona FeeneyZoë HerdtSamantha LaneSophia LeeRaeleen LemayRegan PerusseChristine RiccioSteph SinclairJesse GeorgeKat O’Keeffe
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 320
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryIndieBound
 

SYNOPSIS:

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

 

EXCERPT : The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer / Zoë Herdt:

The razor-sharp barnacles clawed at my fingertips as I strained to wrench them free of the rotting wood. I cursed them repeatedly as I worked, not having known the depths of my hatred for barnacles until this moment. Vicious, stubborn little parasites. Vile, thankless cadgers.

It wasn’t long before I was also cursing my own feeble muscles and long, ink-black hair that wouldn’t stop swimming in front of my face and obscuring my vision. Another barnacle sliced into my palm and I let out a scream of frustration. Grabbing the whale-bone knife from my sack, I lifted the blade over my shoulder with every intention of hacking the nasty creatures to pieces, but I resisted the temptation long enough for the fury to pass. My heart was still thumping, but reason began to return. I needed the barnacles intact or this wouldn’t work. I needed them whole.

I drew in a mouthful of salt water, swished it angrily around my cheeks, then forced it out through my teeth. My tail flicked against the side of the long-drowned ship, making a hollow drumming sound that matched my pulse. Eyeing the barnacles, I resolved that I would not be deterred. They were the last ingredient I needed, and I would have them, no matter if they left my fingertips shredded and scarred. After all, what was this temporary pain to a lifetime of bliss?

Shoving my drifting hair out of my face, I returned to my work, digging the point of the dagger around the barnacles’ edges. I leveraged it against the wood, prying and grunting. The wood began to crumble and I grasped the edge of a waterlogged plank and pulled hard, bracing my tail against the ship’s side. It creaked and groaned and finally released, just as a particularly cruel barnacle sliced through the pad of my thumb. I yanked my hand away with a snarl. Blood blossomed like pearls on my skin before dispersing in the dark water.

“That’s it,” I growled, stabbing at the traitorous barnacle. With a pop, it dislodged and sank down toward the ocean floor. It wasn’t as satisfying a death as I would have hoped, but no matter. I had what I’d come for.

Opening the sack that bobbed on my shoulder, I stashed the splintered plank of barnacle-infested wood inside. Twenty live barnacles, the spell demanded. I had twice that, but I wanted to be sure I had plenty, in case something went wrong and I had to start over. I’d never tried such a complicated spell before, nor had I ever so badly wanted one to work. Needed one to work.

That left only one more ingredient to gather: three silver scales taken from the tail of the merman I wished to fall in love with me.

I still wasn’t sure how I would get close enough to Prince Lorindel to cut three scales from his tail, but the royal concert was tonight and he was sure to be there. Surrounded by his horrid entourage, no doubt, but they couldn’t spend the entire evening at his side. And I only had to get close enough for a moment.

Three scales. Three insignificant little scales, and by this time tomorrow, Lorindel would be mine.

 

MINI-REVIEW for The Sea Witch:

The Sea Witch written by Marissa Meyer (prompted by booktuber Zoë Herdt) is perfection. I wanted it to be a whole book and not just a few short pages. From the first sentence you are completely drawn in by Marissa Meyer’s descriptive and lively writing. I love the Little Mermaid story, and it was fascinating to read the story through the “sea witch’s” eyes.

Re-imagining such a famous and popular fairy tale while making it completely new must have been quite a challenge, but Marissa Meyer does this beautifully. While reading it, I could see/imagine where some of her inspiration came from be it folklore, myth, or even Disney. Yet, the tale remained entirely her own. As did the very distinctive voice of the “Sea Witch” herself.  

I highly recommend picking up this wonderful anthology of  re-imagined fairy tales through  the eyes of the “villains”. Expect the unexpected, and beware of potentially “falling” for the villains/changing your loyalties. 

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a copy of Because You Love to Hate Me! The novel will be sent by the publisher. Best of Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Thank you to Bloomsbury Books for providing me with an advance peek at this fantastic anthology.  As well as for sending me a gorgeous finished copy in return for my participation in the tour/review.

#VILLAINISBAE