Fantasy (Teen), YA Fiction

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

It’s time for another fairytale retelling! With the snow falling the way it is, this novel set in a cold country seemed perfect for me. It helps that the story is about Snow White, who is actually my least favorite disney princess. I wanted to see if this author could make me love her! So here is my review:

Mina’s life is wretched. At 16, she is motherless, with a vicious magician father. However, life takes a toll for the worse when she discovers that she doesn’t have a normal heart. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When fate takes her to Whitespring Castle and she meets the king, Mina devises 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.

15-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 her looks, Lynet would much rather be like her stepmother, Mina. When Lynet’s father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, she finally gets her wish. But by gaining control of the South, Lynet has displaced 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.

There were a lot of things that I really liked about this retelling. For one thing, it features two females as protagonists and gives them both unique voices and opportunities to tell their story, through alternating chapters. The author really did a good job of changing the traditional Snow White narrative here. The simplistic fairy tale has been evolved here and I love the new themes about friendship, trust, love, and identity that are explored in this novel. The shifts between the different perspectives allowed the author to really show how miscommunication and misinterpretation can lead to disastrous consequences. But as I was enjoying this dark-yet-sweet story, I found myself a little disappointed in the quality of the writing. At times, the character’s dialogue seemed juvenile and didn’t match the age or qualities I had come to associate with that character. While I liked the beginning of the novel, once it reached the midpoint, I found it a little … tedious. I saw a blurb where this novel was described as being similar to Frozen – and that’s exactly what I felt when I got to the halfway point. Suddenly, Lynet has transformed into Ana and it just didn’t work for me. The next few scenes were very predictable and very … disney-like. Gone was the darker aspects that I had grown to enjoy with this novel, and gone was the depth. However, I am a sucker for happy endings … and this novel had one. My thoughts on this novel are mixed. While I loved the beginning, I didn’t like the way things unfolded from the midpoint until the end. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2.5/5 stars.

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