I’ve come to enjoy YA retellings, especially if they are for some of my favorite characters, and Girls Made of Snow and Glass did not disappoint. In this debut novel by Melissa Bashardoust, two women learn the meaning of what it is to love and be loved.
About Girls Made of Snow and Glass
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.
This Snow White and the Huntsman retelling caught my eye from day one. I like retellings because it gives you insight into the different ways characters may be motivated to choose a certain path over another. In Girls Made of Snow and Glass we get to see just that. Bashardoust did a great job of building two characters who’s arc’s were well developed by the end of the story.
Bashardoust does a really good job at describing Mina’s inner struggle between what she’s been told to feel and what she actually feels. She becomes a step-mother to Lynet when she becomes queen but the king has made sure to let her know that she is not to love Lynet as a daughter because Lynet already has one, even though Lynet has never known her. Mina’s character was the more interesting of the two because her idea of love conflicts with what her reality of love is. She can be rigid like the glass she controls but that can also be her burden because it does not allow her to see that you can love someone as if they are your blood, despite what you’ve come to believe.
Lynet grew up with a loving father who has a strange obsession with her mother, so much so that he forces Lynet to pay respects to the mother she has no feelings towards every year on the anniversary of her death. She lives a sheltered life because her father is afraid that something bad will happen to Lynet so her character comes off really naive. I think that she finally starts to realize she can be the queen she is meant to be after she meets the surgeon Nadia. Nadia has big dreams of becoming an even greater surgeon and that drive shows Lynet that she can also have big dreams, and that they are within her reach.
At times the pacing felt slower than I was expecting and that made it difficult to get through certain parts of the book. I also wanted a bit more vehemence between the two and at times things seemed to get resolved too easily. I think this book would be a great read if you are very much into character development than plot driven worlds.
What are some YA Retellings that you’ve read?