Melissa Bashardoust’s acclaimed debut novel Girls Made of Snow and Glass is “Snow White as it’s never been told before…a feminist fantasy fairy tale not to be missed” (BookPage)!
“Utterly superb.” —ALA Booklist, starred review
“Dark, fantastical, hauntingly evocative.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“An empowering and progressive original retelling.” —SLJ, starred review
Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, 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 starts its narrative as a retelling of Snow White, and soon turns itself into something completely different. Devoid of the classic take on jealousy and female competition, Bashardoust gives the tale of these two women shades of emotional complexity, coming-of-age narrative, female agency and conflicting feelings.
A character-driven story, Girls Made of Snow and Glass focuses on two main characters, Mina and Lynet, the would-be evil queen and her step-daughter. Told through flashbacks and their two different points of view, it weaves a story of both powerful betrayal and hope.
Mina, trapped by her own idea that love will forever elude her, grows hungry for power and pushes everyone away. Calculating and obssesed with power, one can’t help but sympathise with her loneliness and her longing for that which she believes herself uncapable of.
Lynet, living under the shadow of her own mother, whose memory her father is obssesed with, struggles to find her own identity, and can’t help but find a role model in her step-mother Mina. Her coming-of-age story rings believable and heartfelt as she figures herself out and tries to free herself of the ghost of her mother, all the while handling her relationship with Mina, the only mother she has ever known.
Ultimately, this book is about the complex relationship between these two women, which takes on the theme of mother/daughter dynamics with dexerity and great detail. Refusing to follow the core ideas of the classic Snow White fairytale, Girls Made of Snow Glass brings the two characters together in unexpected ways, creating something completely new and filled with surprising emotion.
The lesbian relationship in the story is subtle, and while not the main subject of the book, it rounds the narrative along many other themes, such as gender roles, growing up, femininity and sense of self.
I highly recommend Girls Made of Snow and Glass to fans of fairytale retellings and dark fantasy populated by complex female characters. The dash of lesbian romance is only a bonus that adds to the beautifully rendered female relationships, the fairy tale twists, and the nods to the original Snow White.
Buy Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust here.
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You can find this book in my list Top 10 Best Fantasy and Romance Novels