Hey, readers and writers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I get to review Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust! I earned my copy via a Goodreads giveaway and so I got this copy before it came out. Talk about feeling really cool and all in-the-know! Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 5 stars
The novel follows Mina and Lynet—brought together by a man with a sick vision of cheating death and aging. This man, Mina’s father, gives his young daughter a heart of glass and convinces his daughter that she can’t love nor be loved. Mina thus does whatever she can to prove her father wrong—by marrying the king and caring for his young daughter.
Lynet is a teenager that does whatever she can to prove she isn’t her birth mother—a queen she never knew and doesn’t love. Instead, she clings to Mina, her stepmother and role model while she tries to discover who she truly is and who she wants to become.
Their relationship is loving and strong until Lynet discovers that she is actually made of snow and the king gives her authority over the southern territories—lands once promised to Queen Mina. The two women suddenly realize the power play that was created for them: should Mina assert her power and challenge Lynet’s authority? Should Lynet finally stand up for herself and be the queen she wants to be? They have to decide—and decide quickly—if they were meant to hate each other or support each other.
What I Enjoyed:
One of my favorite characters in this novel was Nadia. She shows up right at the beginning of the novel as the court surgeon and quickly becomes Lynet’s friend. First of all, I just love the idea that Lynet has a friend her age. That’s just a concept you don’t get very often in fairy tales: awesome female friendships. I can’t say much more about her without spoiling her role in the novel, but just know that she was my favorite. There are other delightful side characters that add to the story, so it doesn’t feel so much like a Mina v. Lynet storyline.
Another aspect I enjoyed was the twisted, dark elements within the novel. If you’re a fan of the real Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then you’ll feel right at home. I mean, there’s a lot of talk of snow, hearts, surgery, blood, mirrors, yada yada yada—so the mood and tone of this novel still fits in with the fairy tale vibe.
I also really enjoyed the side romances included in the novel. Yes, friends: we’ve got homosexuality in this novel and it’s beautifully and tastefully done. Gaaah, I want to spoil it but I can’t. Just read the book! But know it’s in there if that’s what you’re looking for.
My Final Thoughts
I like to think of myself as a fairy tale retelling expert. And I like to think that I’ve read quite a few retellings. With that in mind, I can say that this is my favorite Snow White retelling. It really is. I changed my mind as to who I was rooting for—Mina or Lynet—but I loved the way Bashardoust balanced both of their character arcs. They blossomed side by side, and I thoroughly enjoyed how their past and their struggles were unfurled.
Then there’s the feminist notion: this book is touted as a feminist retelling of Snow White. I was skeptical at first because I don’t appreciate the word feminist used as a buzzword or something. I was also wary that the novel wouldn’t meet my expectations. However, I agree. Bashardoust’s feminism is refreshing and enjoyable. I think I’ll let you discover those aspects for yourself because it would spoil some of the climax. However, I appreciate that her brand of feminism includes deconstructing the typical stereotypes of the fairy tale, court intrigue tropes, and general feminist tropes.
I think many people are afraid of feminist storytelling because they assume the female characters are the only good characters, they’re strong and sassy, or they knock down femininity. Those are signs of not-quite-there feminism or things people assume about feminism. Storytellers like Melissa Bashardoust and Marissa Meyer are ushering in the kind of feminist retelling that will build the imagination of girls and boys alike and replace the unhealthy fairy tale tropes with something much better and empowering.
If you’d like to learn more about Melissa Bashardoust and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel yet? Do you have your own thoughts about it? Share with me in the comments or on social media! You can also see all of my other book reviews by checking our the Book Reviews tab.
Also, I plan on writing a post soon about writing feminist fantasy/fiction, so if you have some thoughts or questions, let me know about them in the comments! What should I cover, and what are your thoughts about feminist fiction?