Review: Whitley: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Book Cover
title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
author: Melissa Bashardoust
pages: 384
format: Paperback ARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 4.5/5
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.

I was honestly not prepared for how much I loved this book.

Of all the ways I thought to see Snow White retold (and we have not nearly reached the end of that well yet) I’d never imagined one where step-mother and daughter were ultimately friends. It’s delightful and heartwarming and incredibly sad all at once. I was rooting for both of these women throughout the whole book.

It’s a very introspective story that focuses mostly on trying to navigate various fraught relationships, with a bit of attempted murder at the end. I thought the slower pace was handled well, and it left plenty of space for the extended flashbacks into Mina’s childhood and how she came to be the (not even remotely evil) queen. I loved those flashbacks, and for me Mina’s side of the story was stronger than Lynet’s. Can’t really pinpoint why, I guess chalk it up to pure personal preference.

The villains in this story, since it can’t be the queen, are the girls’ fathers, and each in different ways. Mina’s father Gregory is, to put it bluntly, rather standard. He’s not a badly written villain, just…well, when compared to the king a bit lackluster. Because the king isn’t really a villain in a traditional sense, he’s just a dude who makes such consistently bad and selfish choices that I want to throttle him. I love how much I hate this character. I love the way he was developed to appear kind – to even have ostensibly good motivations, at first – and who is only villainous by virtue of royally fucking it all up.

I wasn’t too thrilled with the ending. By the last few chapters, the book seemed to suddenly realize it was a Snow White retelling, and trying to shoehorn in the conclusion of that fairy tale to a story that had already largely departed from it was…awkward. Yes, awkward is really the best word for it. I would have been perfectly content to see something new there, especially since so much else had already been changed. (…probably? I don’t think I’ve read any retellings that just use the beginning and then do their own thing for the ending, so I guess I don’t know how I’d react. But this book certainly made me wish for it!)

1 comment:

  1. This was the only book I've purchased this month, and I already STARTED it (I think I finished the first two chapters), and was really enjoying it, but other books ~called to me~. Now I feel a huge sense of regret. D: I'm pushing this back up on my TBR (so it's either this or EVERLESS next)! I'm really eager to read about the awesome mother/daughter dynamics and the fucked up villains. Awesome review, CJ! So glad you loved this! <3

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always