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.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This does not influence my thoughts on the book or this review.
Fantasy is not usually something I’m drawn to but when I heard that this was a feminist retelling of Snow White, I had to pick it up. I’m so happy that I did because this debut novel was phenomenal.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass stars Mina, the 16-year-old girl looking for loyal followers and Lynet, the 15-year-old princess who’s never left her kingdom. In a world that’s divided into a perpetual summer vs. a perpetual winter, these two girls fight to figure out where they belong. The book does take place in revolving dual-POV, and Mina’s POV takes place years before Lynet’s story.
If you’re wondering about how close of a retelling it is, I would say that it’s not a typical retelling. I still call it a retelling though because it’s clear that Mina, the stepmother figure, has a connection to mirrors and Lynet is meant to be the innocent princess who’s never travelled out of her kingdom. The plot doesn’t have the Seven Dwarves plot which I loved because I thought it’d be out of place if it was included. This retelling doesn’t concern the plot but rather the characters, but even so, the interpretations of the classic characters is unique and wonderful.
The writing of Girls Made of Snow and Glass was also lovely, though it does take a bit for readers to really get into it. I loved the writing and even thought it was 3rd person POV, I felt like I really knew the characters. I loved that both Mina and Lynet were so well-rounded and I really related to both. Lynet really struggled to figure out who she was, after spending her whole life being expected to follow in the footsteps of her mother. Mina, on the other hand, really struggled to accept herself and channeled that struggle into working hard to make others accept her. Both characters were really unique and fleshed-out and I loved reading about them.
There’s only a minor romance in this one but it’s between Lynet and her royal doctor (a woman her age who she quickly becomes entranced by) and it was the loveliest thing.
Overall, I highly recommend Girls Made of Snow and Glass even if you aren’t a fan of fantasy or retellings because it’s just a lovely well-written feminist novel.