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.
When I requested this book on Netgalley I didn’t really know much about it. I knew it was a retelling and that’s about it. It wasn’t til later that I started hearing hype and murmuring in the community so I went into it completely free of expectations. I was so glad I did. GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS is a feminist LGBT retelling of the Snow White tale. Add a dash of Frozen and some pretty awesome world building and you’ve got yourself a book.
I think what I liked most was the fluidity of the magic system in this world. The author doesn’t spend a lot of time laying out the rules and so your imagination is left with all this room to play. This is usually not something I like but for this story it works and lets you focus more on character.
The characters in the story are delightful. You’ve got Princess Lynett, your typical “I don’t feel like I belong” character. She is the Snow White of the story, and yet she’s so much more interesting than that. Her powers are great but what I liked more was her relationship with her love interest Nadia.
Lynett’s relationship with Nadia starts with a little bit of curious voyeurism, builds into friendship, and then into attraction. I could have done without the “liar reveal” subplot but I can tolerate it for the sake of the ship. And I do really love their dynamic so I can put up with that trope-iness for it. Nadia as a character doesn’t get as much page time as I’d like. We mostly get Lynett’s impressions of her to drive the relationship. I would have preferred a bit more character building for her but that’s really not a deal breaker for the story.
Finally we have our “evil” queen. First, I adore the fact that she’s not really evil at all. This character is probably the best written of the whole novel, and her mother-daughter relationship with Lynett is superb. I could talk about her all day. She’s powerful, clever, and incredibly sympathetic. The author somehow follows the Snow White tale without demonizing or even making her all that evil. And yet it doesn’t collapse the narrative it only makes it stronger.
There are plenty of other side characters and most of them don’t get a lot of character work done. Lynett’s father is rather bland but I think the time spent of the Huntsman instead really worked more to the advantage of the story so can let that one pass. The Pigeons, high influential court members who control a lot of the politics of Whitespring really interested me. There was the potential for so much more politicking that I think may have been missed but with so much else going on it was another thing that I could let go of.
All in all I really enjoyed reading this book. There were certainly a few missed opportunities throughout but what was crafted was so good that I didn’t feel they were necessary. The book was so different from other retellings I have read and I loved reading it. I’ll be interested to see what this author does next.
I recommend this book for fans of fairytale retellings or anyone looking for a good LGBT read.
What did you think of GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,