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.
|File size:||5 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
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Lynet first saw her in the courtyard.
Well, the girl was in the courtyard. Lynet was in a tree.
The juniper tree in the central courtyard was one of the few trees still in leaf at Whitespring, and so it was one of the best hiding places on the castle grounds. Nestled up in its branches, Lynet was only visible to anyone directly beneath her. This hiding place was especially helpful on afternoons like these, when she had decided to skip her lessons without telling her tutors.
The young woman who walked briskly across the courtyard did not pass directly under the tree, so she didn't notice Lynet watching. What struck Lynet first was the girl's clothing. Instead of a dress, the girl was wearing a long brown tunic over loose trousers, allowing her to move more freely, in a long, striding gait. She walked with purpose, dark eyes staring straight ahead.
Lynet thought she knew every face at Whitespring, but she didn't recognize the girl at all. True, they had visitors come and go throughout the year, but usually for special occasions, and even then, Lynet could recognize most of them by sight, if not by name.
A stream of questions all fought for attention in Lynet's head: Who was this girl? Where had she come from? What was she doing at Whitespring? Where was she heading now with such conviction? Why was she carrying a large bag in her hand? She was a mystery, and mysteries were rare at Whitespring, where so little changed from day to day. The stranger was certainly more exciting than the music lesson Lynet was avoiding.
Now at the other side of the courtyard, the girl went up the short flight of stone steps that led to the west wing of the castle. As soon as she'd disappeared through the arched doorway, Lynet dropped down out of the tree and hurried after her, her bare feet silent on the snow. She peeked down the hall and saw the girl starting to go up the stairwell on the left. Lynet waited until the girl was out of sight and then scurried directly across the hall to climb out the window. Whitespring's uneven stones and ledges and sharp corners made the castle excellent for climbing, something she had discovered at a young age. She used the ledge above the window to pull herself up, careful not to snag her gray wool dress on the sharper parts of the sculpted ledge. She didn't want to have to explain to her father why there was a tear in her dress, or to see the forced smile on her sewing mistress's face as she asked why the embroidery on the hems that Lynet had done just last week was already coming undone.
Crouching silently on the ledge, Lynet traced the young woman's movements in her mind: after going up the stairs, she would come down the hall until she reached the first turn, a little past where Lynet was perched, at which point she could continue straight ahead or turn right down another hallway. Lynet counted the seconds, knowing that she should be hearing footsteps any moment —
Yes, there they were, passing down the hallway just inside. Lynet was sure to duck her head so the girl wouldn't see her hair peeking up past the window frame, and she listened as the footsteps continued on past the turn, straight down to the end of the hall, followed by a loud knock.
She heard a voice call, "Ah, come in!" and then the sound of the door closing again.
Lynet wasn't sure who had spoken, but it didn't matter who, as long as she knew where. She peeked over the ledge just in time to see the stranger going through the door at the very end of the hall to her left. Lynet climbed in through the window, hurried down the same hall, and went back out the last window so that she was now on the other side of the castle. She carefully skirted the ledge, counting the windows in her head.
When Lynet reached the window of the room where the stranger had gone, she knelt on the ledge and peeked in through the corner. The window was closed, but she had a clear view of the young woman, and that was what truly mattered. Lynet recognized the other person as Tobias, one of the nobles who had lived at Whitespring since before Lynet was born.
Tobias was saying something now, his enormous eyebrows making him look fiercer than he really was. But the young stranger didn't seem at all intimidated by Tobias's intense stare — she held her head high and stared right back.
In fact, the stranger didn't seem to let anything trouble her. There were flakes of snow in the messy dark braid down her back and on the collar of her shirt, but she made no move to brush them away. The bag she was holding was bulging full, and yet even after carrying it through the castle, she showed no sign of tiring. The inky thumbprint on her jawline, the fraying edge on one sleeve ... these small imperfections fascinated Lynet because the girl wore them all with such ease and confidence. Lynet had never seen a woman look so comfortable in her own skin without appearing pristine.
Who was she?
Lynet leaned in farther, and the young woman set down her bag and opened it. With her head bent, her sharp cheekbones were especially striking, her eyelashes casting long shadows across her pale brown skin. ... She looked up suddenly, and Lynet jerked her head away from the window. She was sure the girl hadn't seen her — Lynet had been barely visible in the corner — and yet in that brief moment, she'd thought their eyes had met.
When Lynet peeked again, the girl wasn't looking up anymore, and Lynet squinted to see what she was taking out of the bag — that would be one mystery solved, at least. And then she saw in the girl's lean hands a long metal instrument that curved at the end like the beak of some vicious bird. Lynet gasped sharply, and she could tell from the way Tobias was rapidly blinking that he hadn't expected this either.
The young woman was watching Tobias, waiting for some response, and Lynet couldn't stop watching her. She wondered how this girl could stand so perfectly still, hands never trembling under the weight of that monstrous instrument she was holding. She seemed almost defiant as she held it, and Lynet longed even more to know this strange girl — not just to know who she was, but to know her, and maybe to absorb some of that boldness for herself.
Tobias gave a short nod and settled down in a chair. On the table beside him was a wineskin, and he drank heavily from it before tilting his head back. The young woman took a breath and then placed the curved end of the metal instrument inside Tobias's mouth.
Finally, Lynet understood what was about to happen, but not before it was too late to look away.
The young woman yanked the instrument back, and the nobleman screamed as his tooth was wrenched out of his mouth.
Lynet was glad he screamed, because she had let out a small yelp herself. She ran her tongue over her own teeth, reassuring herself that they were still in place.
A surgeon. The young woman must be a surgeon. Though the answer should have satisfied her, Lynet only grew more curious. She had never seen a woman surgeon before.
Lynet remained perched on her ledge until the surgeon had cleaned Tobias up and given him some herbs for the pain. When Lynet heard her leave, she abandoned her post and went back around the ledge, listening for footsteps inside. Her heart was thumping; where would the surgeon go next? What would she do?
When the surgeon had gone down the hall, Lynet slipped back inside through the window just in time to see her turn a corner. Lynet silently followed, but as she rounded the same corner, she ran into the Pigeons.
"Princess Lynet!" one of the women cried, and then they were all around her, and it was too late to escape.
She called them the Pigeons because of their gray hair and their constant cooing, and because they always traveled in flocks. Unlike most of the nobility, who preferred to live in their own private estates in clusters throughout the North, the Pigeons lived in Whitespring permanently, having made their nests here long before Lynet was born. They were Whitespring's oldest residents, and so they always seemed so surprised to see how much Lynet had grown, even if they had only seen her yesterday.
"Her mother would be so proud," one of them was saying now.
From behind her, another of the women said, "Look at this hair. So much like the queen's."
When she was a child, Lynet had thought they'd meant she looked like Mina when they said she looked like the queen, and she had swelled with pride at resembling her stepmother. But now she understood that when they talked of the queen, they always meant the late queen, Emilia. And the worst part was that they were right: Mina's hair was a dark auburn, her eyes light brown, while Lynet had her mother's thick black hair and nearly black eyes. Mina's face was angular and defined, her skin golden-brown, while Lynet had her mother's round face and muted olive-brown coloring. Lynet's cheeks, her nose, her lips, and everything else she possessed belonged to a dead woman who she didn't even remember.
The unofficial leader of this little band, a gray-haired, long-necked woman named Xenia who served on the king's council, bent down a little — out of habit, mostly, since Lynet was now taller than her — and took Lynet's face in her hand. "So lovely. King Nicholas must be so proud of you, my lady. You'll be such a splendid queen, just like your mother." Even in the shadows of the dim hallway, Xenia's eyes shone with a suspicious gleam — she always squinted at people like she thought that they were lying to her.
Lynet smiled and nodded and thanked them until the Pigeons were finished. Perhaps it was flattering to be fussed over, but she knew their fondness wasn't for her own sake. They loved her mother, and Lynet looked like her mother, so they thought that they loved her, too.
Once the Pigeons continued down the hall in a cloud of gray, Lynet wandered through a few corridors before she had to admit that she'd lost the surgeon. Still, Lynet was sure she would see her again soon enough. The castle had been without a court surgeon since the prior one had left several months ago, so the new surgeon would be in high demand for a while. Lynet would keep watch, and next time she wouldn't lose track of her.
Lynet dragged her feet down the hall until she reached the music room, where her tutor was waiting for her, seated at his harp. He was mid-yawn when she walked in, and as soon as he saw her, he straightened, swallowing the rest of the yawn with a startled chirp. "There you are, my lady!" he said. "A little late, perhaps, but that's no trouble." His lined face stretched into a smile. She was more than an hour late, but he wouldn't scold her. None of her tutors ever scolded her for anything.
Lynet had once liked the idea of playing the harp. But the actual lessons were long and tiresome, and she never seemed to improve, so she didn't see any harm in skipping them when she could. She felt less bitter about the tedious hour to follow now that she had a new project, but as she sat down at her harp, she knew she would play even worse than usual today, her mind still following the new surgeon even when her feet couldn't.
When her lesson was finished (miserably, as expected), dusk was falling. Without even thinking, Lynet flew up the stairs to the royal apartments. Sometimes she felt that her entire day was only a prelude for her nightly visit with Mina, a tradition that had begun so long ago, Lynet couldn't remember exactly how it had started.
The fire was blazing high when Lynet stepped quietly through to her stepmother's bedchamber. Even though Mina had come to Whitespring from the South nearly sixteen years ago — around the same time Lynet was born — she had never become accustomed to their constant winter, and so she was always cold. Lynet, having been born in Whitespring, was never cold.
A maidservant braided Mina's hair in front of the mirror. Lynet could see her stepmother's reflection, serene and regal, her head held high, her back straight.
When Mina saw Lynet's reflection behind hers in the mirror, she held her hand up to signal the maid to stop. "That'll be all for now," she said, and the maid dipped a curtsy before hurrying away, managing a quick smile for Lynet before she left.
Mina stood to let Lynet take her place on the low chair in front of the mirror. As soon as Lynet sat, Mina smiled. "You have snow in your hair."
Embarrassed, Lynet reached up to brush it away. She supposed one day, when she was queen, she would have to appear as effortlessly composed as Mina did, but that day was years away.
Mina started to comb through Lynet's hair with her fingers. Combs and brushes were useless on Lynet's hair; they only snagged and caught in her curls, while Mina's hands deftly unsnarled and untangled them. They'd done this every night since Lynet was a child, and neither of them ever mentioned that Lynet was old enough to untangle her own hair by now.
Mina asked her about her day, and Lynet told her how useless she was at playing the harp, how she'd already been through three music tutors. "I never get any better, so they all give up on me in the end," she said.
"It's not you," Mina reassured her. "Whitespring is too gloomy and isolated for most people." Lynet knew she was right. It wasn't just the music tutors who all left. The only people, noble or not, who stayed at Whitespring permanently were those who had been here so long that they couldn't be troubled to leave. Lynet wondered about her new surgeon, how long she would stay....
"You've left me behind," Mina said softly after Lynet had lapsed into silent thought for too long. "Where did you go?"
"There's a new surgeon," Lynet said without thinking.
"I'm glad to hear it. Whitespring has been without one for long enough."
"She's quite young," Lynet said.
Mina lifted an eyebrow. "She?"
Mina was watching her with interest, but Lynet didn't want to tell her more. She felt oddly protective of her new stranger, and she didn't want to share her with anyone else yet. "I also saw the Pigeons today," she said quickly.
Mina grimaced, and she accidentally tugged at one of Lynet's curls. "Same as usual, I expect?"
Lynet knew the Pigeons would distract Mina — Mina found them even more unbearable than Lynet did. The first time Lynet had slipped and called them by that name in front of Mina, she'd been afraid that she'd be scolded. Instead, Mina had burst into laughter. Lynet didn't blame her; though the Pigeons were always charming and respectful to Mina's face, Lynet heard the way they talked about her when they were alone. They called her the southerner, or the southern queen, never just the queen — that title was still reserved for Lynet's mother.
"Same as always," Lynet grumbled as Mina started braiding her hair. "I look so much like my mother, my hair looks just like my mother's, I have my mother's eyes ... they probably even think I have my mother's elbows."
Mina frowned a little and bit her lip, but said nothing.
Lynet continued. "It wouldn't be so bad if it was just them, but —" She stopped, feeling too guilty to give voice to her thoughts.
"But you wish your father would stop comparing you to her as well?" Mina offered.
Lynet nodded. She started twisting a piece of her skirt in her hands. "It's even worse with him," she said quietly.
Mina laid her hands on Lynet's shoulders. "Why do you say that?"
Lynet kept her head down. It was easier to talk about it when she wasn't looking at anyone else — or at herself. She wanted to change the subject, but she had already done that once, and she knew she wouldn't be able to manage it again. Whenever they talked about Lynet's father, Mina seemed to ... harden somehow, like she was putting a shield in place that even Lynet wasn't allowed behind. Sometimes Lynet wondered why they had married at all, when they seemed to spend so little time together and show such little affection when they did.
Mina squeezed Lynet's shoulders gently. "It's all right, wolf cub," she said. "Don't be afraid."
Mina's special name for her rallied Lynet's spirits, as it always did. She hated feeling afraid. "It's just that ... well, the others only talk about how much I look like her, but Papa ... I think he wants me to be like her in every way. He expects me to be sweet and gentle and — and delicate."
Lynet practically choked on the word. It was what her father always said about her mother — and about Lynet, too. Your features are delicate, Lynet, like a bird's. You shouldn't be climbing trees, Lynet, not when your hands and feet are so soft and delicate. Emilia had died, he said, because her body had been too delicate for childbirth. Being delicate had killed her mother, and yet he was so eager to bestow the quality on her.
"You say that like it's a curse," Mina said, her voice low and heavy. "There are worse things in the world to be than delicate. If you're delicate, it means no one has tried to break you."
Lynet felt ashamed without knowing why. She had always tried to emulate her stepmother, but the way Mina spoke now, Lynet wondered if she was trying to take on a weight she didn't fully understand. "I'm sorry," she said. "I must sound like such a child."
Excerpted from "Girls Made of Snow and Glass"
Copyright © 2017 Melissa Bashardoust.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Yes, if you like authors taking classic fairy tales and using them to push a political agenda, if you like Snow White being a lesbian, if you like unbearably slow-moving stories... Then this is the book for you.
Mina is sixteen years old, she is shunned in the village she lives because of her magician father, and her heart; her heart made of glass that will never beat or love anyone. Lynet is fifteen years old, the daughter of the King of Whitespring Castle situated in the North where it always snows; she also looks exactly like the late queen, which everyone seeks to tell her at every turn. The stories of these two girls are told from the past and the present and we see how they came to be where they are. Mina with her glass heart and her father the magician move to Whitespring Castle where Mina develops the idea to marry the newly single king, who has lost his wife but has a newborn baby daughter he adores; marry the king and have a husband and a kingdom that will love her. Lynet tries to escape the shadow of her mother, who she looks exactly like. The new surgeon, someone new to Whitespring, tells Lynet why she looks exactly like her mother; she is made from magic, snow, and blood. Shocked at what her father has done in order to preserve her mother, Lynet does what she can to be her own person, to be more like Mina. But as these two women, thrown into a fight neither wants to have, seek to either reconcile or destroy each other, they have to figure out who they truly are. Is Mina the girl who cannot love? Is Lynet only her mother's image? Can they find their inner strength to throw off their father's expectations and be who they have always to be? Or will they end up destroyed? To me, this is one of the best retellings of Snow White and the Evil Queen. We actually get to see the motivation of why the Evil Queen sought out Snow White's heart, why she sought out her kingdom, and how she became Snow White's stepmother. We can see Lynet and how being compared to someone who is dead can not only wear on one's spirit, but it can push one to do what they never would have contemplated before. Also, just to let you know, I am not a fan of the Snow White story. At least, the Disney Snow White story. This retelling though I thoroughly enjoyed, if only because this Snow White actually did something to alter her destiny rather than just let it come at her and wash over with no regard. I loved this book, and if you are looking for a different retelling then look no further than the Girls Made of Snow and Glass.
A good book makes you read the story. A great book makes you relate to the story. An amazing book makes you feel like your there seeing the story. “Girls Made of Snow and Glass,” makes you feel like you are the story. I am not a fan of reading, in fact I usually find it quite boring because I feel like my imagination is trapped. When I’m reading, my imagination has to create pictures for words, words that I can’t choose. I am reading a story that I know has an ending. Not a story where I can create the ending. I am reading someone else’s imagination. Melissa Bashardoust’s imagination however, is way better than mine and I would read her words any day. I fell in love with this book, and I’m not just saying that. This book is truly the best book I have ever read. The ending was totally unpredictable and the way the book is written you feel like you are the main characters, and you are there making their decisions with them. A book about magic is always very hard to write, so many factors have to go in to it, because you are writing about things that do not existed, so not only are there many places to make mistakes, there is also a possibly of an ending that makes everyone go WOW. This book is original, not only in the theme but in the format. There are two main characters, each with a problem that has to do with their creation. Those problems gives disadvantages to both, but also magic. All you want is for them to love each other and understand how similar they are. What makes this book so original is it is written in two point of views. It starts off with Lynet talking about her current day, with Mina as an adult. The next chapter switches to Mina’s POV, talking about her life as a child and her growing up. As the book switches from Mina to Lynet’s point of views, the story’s they are each telling are getting closer and closer to connecting at the same point in time. It gets to a point where Lynet’s chapter is one day before Mina’s. Your heart is racing because your always one step ahead of one character, and so you know there mistakes, their feelings of uncertainty, and the suspense to see if they make the right choice. In this heart wrenching novel where magic is at its best as two time lines are getting close to connecting to reveal the fate of a small town where tensions are high. Overall I can’t urge you enough to read this book. In one word, this book is breathtaking. The dictionary defines breathtaking as astonishing or awe-inspiring in quality, so as to take one's breath away, I define it as “Girls Made of Snow and Glass,” by Melissa Bashardoust.
This book was marketed perfectly, it was definitely a fairytale retelling with a feminist twist. I definitely got a feel of Snow White with twists, and feminism. I found it was pretty slow paced, which personally I liked. I also liked the magic elements in the story a lot. The story talks about family and accepting who you are as a person, and did it extremely well. I will say for most of the book I was wondering where the romance was coming in (since it was marketed as having romance), but when it finally did I was pleasantly surprised. It was worth the wait. It had one of my favorite things in multiple points of view, I really love when novels do this because I feel like I get much more of a sense of who each of the characters are. The character building in this book was in no way lacking. I felt like I knew each of the girls personally, and loved it. I really like when books focus on characters, which I haven’t normally encountered in a fantasy book. Most fantasy books I’ve read focus on world building, which works for them, but this book focusing on character development really worked for it. Overall I thought this was a wonderful, enjoyable fairytale retelling. I feel like the main focus of the book was all about the characters and I loved that. Another thing that makes me so happy is it is a standalone, which is very uncommon in fantasy. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a fairytale retelling.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is elegantly magical. With a beautiful twist on an unforgettable tale, this one is enchanting and captivating. For fans of stunning faerie tale retellings, and Maleficent, this one is for you! I was a little skeptical about this one with all the negative reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I thought it was beautiful and lyrical. I am always on the hunt for faerie tale retellings, and this one did not disappoint me! Yes, it had a slower pace that most tend to hate, but I rather enjoyed the pacing. With the pace the author used, it allowed her to use an immense amount of magical imagery to create the world. It was so descriptive, and so highly developed, that I felt like I was in a dream the whole time. I absolutely loved the plot, too. It was very well done. It had bits of horror, betrayal, mistaken identities and occurrences, emotion, and excitement! The plot twists were fascinating. I felt like the plot kept the feeling of the original tale, but also had its own originality, and shock factor, to it. The story line flowed gracefully, and was both plot, and character, driven. The characters were created with such care and poise, that I became fully, and emotionally, invested them! The characters were what I loved the most! Mina, the stepmother, was my favorite. She was beautiful and full of grace. She strayed from the normal “Snow White Stepmother” in such a fascinating way. I loved getting to know her character, her fears, and her emotions. I could not have picked a better stepmother to pair with Lynet. Lynet was our “Snow White”. She was such an interesting character. She was very mature for her age. She was kind, caring, and forgiving. Her connection with nature was one of awe and intrigue. My only wish is that her character had a little more dimension, but I still enjoyed her, and the connections she made with the rest of the characters. The Huntsmen, Felix, was certainly an intriguing character. His place in the story had an interesting twist, and he was kind and mysterious. He was handsome and loyal, and seemed to symbolize coming to terms with one’s own self with “mirroring” one’s inner character. The pacing was a nice, slow burn, in my opinion. The story setting was beautiful crafted, and the plot, and characters, were exceptionally developed and enchanting. This wasn’t just a retelling, it was one of those stories where you got too know the person behind the “villain”. It had a story twist that allowed the true character of Lynet and Mina to shine through, without the “girl on girl” hate and viciousness. I felt like the idea behind this retelling was to create a story where there was more to the conflict between the “evil queen” and the naïve “princess” than just jealousy and immature hate. This one left me with thoughts of beauty, forgiveness, and enchantment. 4.5 Stars Head over to https://darquedreamerreads.wordpress(dot)com on December 6 to see my aesthetic board and my buddy read notes with Paperback Dreamer!
“Girls Made of Snow and Glass” is a unique and imaginative retelling of “Snow White.” Both of the main characters were complex and there was quite a bit of heartbreak while I was reading it over the circumstances of the infamous stepmother. Add to it the lgbtq diversity and you get a solid and original read. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Use the words ‘feminist,’ ‘fairy tale,’ and ‘retelling’ AND YOU KNOW THAT I WILL BE A READER OF THAT BOOK, REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING ELSE. After Frozen (GO SISTER POWER!) the new Cinderella movie came out, I was so disappointed that it wasn’t more… feministic. I expected that Disney to have seen the pure joy that women around the world faced when true love’s kiss didn’t mean Prince Charming’s and to have changed Cinderella, but it was the absolute same as before. *continues weeping* In any case, it was after that that I began STRONGLY BELIEVING that all Fairy Tales SHOULD BE MORE FEMINISTIC so that little girls will grow up knowing how to be strong, independent women. And so when I first read the description of Melissa Bashardoust’s Girls Made of Snow and Glass, I KNEW I WOULD HAVE TO READ IT. And when I got approved to read an advance reader copy, I was OVER THE MOON. Surprisingly, this book took me a really long while to get through. The book was slow paced and filled with introspection and I found myself skipping the long LONG descriptions that came after a few exchanges between characters. Let’s break this down: THINGS I REALLY LIKED: 1. A FEMINISM AND LGBT FILLED FAIRY TALE RETELLING: Did you get all of those words? A FEMINIST. LGBT. FAIRY TALE. RETELLING. Really, can you ask for more? I already read one Snow While retelling earlier this year, Forest of A Thousand Lanterns and I LOVED IT for its Asian cast and anti-heroine but this one WITH MAGICAL POWERS SOUNDED JUST AS GOOD. I was so happy that this book turned the traditional fairy tale into a feminist book because WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THAT? 2. STRONG FEMALE CAST: Most of the book was centred around strong female characters trying to find their way or themselves, and I loved it. Mina (the Queen/ Stepmother), Lynet (the Princess) and even Nadia were all characters that were so well done. THINGS THAT REALLY COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: 1. THE PACE: THIS BOOK WAS VERY SLOW. It took me days and days to get through it purely because of how utterly slow paced it was. Like I mentioned before – there just wasn’t much HAPPENING in the book and it was filled with introspection from both Lynet and Mina about the SAME THINGS. I found myself skipping parts of the inner monologues as I got to the latter half of the book because they were the SAME and I wasn’t learning any new information from them I honestly felt that if the pace of this book had been different, the book itself would have been so much more enjoyable. 2. DID I ALREADY SAY THE PACE? 3. T-H-E -- P-A-C-E: And that’s it. I absolutely love what Melissa Bashardoust’s book did for feminism in fairy tales considering HOW MUCH we need it, but I would be giving this book a lot higher of a rating if the book was faster paced. 2.75 stars.
I've read my fair share of retellings and this is one of the best I've ever read. Definitely a new favorite! It takes a story that is inherently filled with notions of innocence and jealousy and female competition (Snow White) and turns it into something complex and emotional. There is magic, and there is plot, but this is 100% a character driven narrative. It's a book to read slowly and absorb (even though I read the last 300 pages in one sitting). We don't know a lot about the world but there is enough to make it lush and atmospheric even if I'd like to know more. There is also a dual narrative between Lynet and her stepmother Mina, with Mina's being split between the past and the present. Her two POVS worked so well and slowly knot themselves together into the main narrative. And I love that we got both Mina's and Lynet's POV because the story is really all about them and their relationship, the parallels and the differences, the genuine love and jealousy and growth, the communication. Mina is not your typical wicked stepmother, which thrilled me. Lynet is not a breakable bird no matter what her father believes. Each woman has agency and conflicting feelings and character growth and her own romance, and I just adored the complexity and sincerity of their mother-daughter relationship. Lynet has a budding romance with Nadia, the castle surgeon, and while it didn't make me swoon, it wasn't supposed to. It was the slowest burn possible but it is a very real friendship that blossoms into a real and sweet romance. Such a joy. I also really loved the fairy tale twists with the Mirror, the traditional Snow White ending, and many other little nods to the original. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is dark but full of hope and magic and I can't recommend it highly enough if you love retellings, dark fantasy, complicated relationships, and complex women.
About: Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a young adult fantasy written by Melissa Bashardoust. It will be published on 9/5/2017 by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publisher, 384 pages. The genres are young adult, retellings, fantasy, and fiction. This book is intended for readers ages 12 to 18. This is the author’s debut novel. My Experience: I started reading Girls Made of Snow and Glass on 8/1/17 and finished it on 8/6/17. This book is a fantastic read! It’s another retelling like no other. I love the concept of snow and glass. This book has fresh ideas and I love both characters and plot. The retelling has resemblance to the original fairytale as well as something new. The story is light hearted and easy to read. I love the magic and the flow of past/present views leading up to the final showdown. I like following two sides to a story. This book is told in the third person point of view and following two main characters: Mina and Lynet. Mina recounts her life at 16, living in the South where it is always warm, a daughter to Gregory, a cruel Magician. Her father tells her that she cannot love or be loved, but if people who are willing to love her, it would be for her beauty and so she spends a lot of her time looking at herself in the mirror admiring her beauty and feeling unloved. People take an instant dislike to her because of who her father is and she grows up believing she is unable to love or be loved. Even when her father unexpectedly pack up and ask her to move to the North to live at Whitespring, she’s as hated in the new city as in her hometown. The alternating view is Lynet in her current age of 15, a princess at Whitespring who always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Her father often reminds her that she will grow up to be exactly like her dead mother, delicate and beautiful; however, she is anything but. Lynet likes to climb trees and walls of the castle. Without any siblings and forbidden to play with the commoners, she spends her time watching people from afar. Whitespring is always snowing and cold. People comes and goes. When Mina met Lynet, Mina has plans to do what she must to get what she wants. They both have secrets and it’s their individual secrets that will either bring them together or drive them apart because only one can be Queen. This book is very well written and organized. I love the intricate details of how one character can see how the other is feeling behind a face they put forth when in public or when one person is trying to act strong when in fact they are nervous. I like the focus of the characters’ insecurities as well as strengths. I love reading about characters that can think and make decisions for themselves. I love flaw heroines who overcome challenges. I love the light romance this story offers. I love the ending and one I didn’t expect to come. This book is definitely an awesome retelling and I highly recommend everyone to read it! Pro: fairytale retelling, easy to read, light hearted, fast paced, page turner, glbt light romance, magic Con: none I rate it 5 stars! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at howusefulitis dot wordpress dot com for a detailed review
I loved this retelling of Snow White. It has complex female characters. I heard it was a feminist retelling...but it is not a political book or a book that has a message like that. Instead it is a wonderful story where the author really delves deep into character development. The message here is one of being true to yourself and of being a good person and (SO IMPORTANT) of women helping women. I appreciated how the book looked at being vulnerable as being a form of strength. I also loved the character of Mina...hope they make a movie out of this one!
This is my new favorite book! If you ever feel like you're not pretty enough or that you're not lovable, this will have you crying and feeling like everything will be okay. I am lucky my mom heard the author on NPR and got me this for my birthday.
DNFing at 20% This review will be very brief. I stopped reading this book because it falls into a genre that I do not read. When I had originally requested an ARC on Netgalley, I didn't realize that it fell into these genres. While I personally have nothing against feminist and same-sex relationship books, they discuss morals that I do not practice or agree with. Because I didn't finish this book, nor am I a reader of books with these themes, I'm not going to give it a star rating because I don't feel I can. I'd like to point out that I really appreciated the idea behind this story, and how creative it was! Anyways, it simply is not a read for me. A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!
This is a book that I thought I would love but it just wasn’t meant to be, and it’s not because the book was badly written, but I wasn’t a good match for it. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a beautiful re-telling of Snow White and the Evil Queen that breathed new life into the tale and gave it something extra I haven’t seen before. For the first half of the book, the story alternates between past and present, and the points of view of the princess Lynet and her stepmother Mina. These eventually merge in the timeline and continue alternating in present time. At first I actually didn’t care for this format but it proved not only helpful for the context of the rest of the story but all the little pieces of each of the characters’ histories came together and made this story rich and vibrant. Add to the fact that this book emphasizes the power of women, that the primary characters are women, made it all the better. This is one of the most well executed Snow White re-tellings I’ve ever read. Which probably makes zero sense if you remember I said that it wasn’t a great fit for me as a reader. While the story itself was beautifully written and given the depth that I don’t see often enough in young adult fiction, I wasn’t hooked. My rating comes from an entirely entertainment perspective and I didn’t feel engaged in this book. Much like a fairy tale, I felt distanced from the characters and I found myself either skimming sections or putting the book down in favor of a different one. But I don’t want to dwell on that too much because it’s such a individualized view of the book. Now I mentioned two characters and I’m sure you can guess from the synopsis which one represents their fairy tale counterpart. Oddly enough, I didn’t have a favorite between the two. Mina’s desire to be loved above all else drives her every decision even when it doesn’t seem to be at the forefront. I loved that Bashardoust showed this in a number of ways and used varying degrees of expression to really bring out the theme of love not only in Mina’s storyline but Lynet’s as well. Lynet had all the confusion of a teenager and it was perfect. I think my fifteen-year-old self could have really related to her because she’s dealing with so much but you can see how her focus shifts around between who she is and what she wants in life. I liked that she didn’t know what she wanted because how many teenagers actually know? How many adults know? It’s great to have a protagonist who’s sure of themselves but it’s nice to see one that isn’t too. I also loved her relationship with the surgeon, Nadia. The inclusion of the F/F/ romance felt like a perfect fit, not forced for the sake of calling a book “diverse” (yes, I’ve read stories that seemed like that but this was definitely not). In short, this is a wonderfully written book that just wasn’t as entertaining as I would hope, but I can’t fault it for anything else. I’d definitely recommend it if you enjoy fairy tale re-tellings and rich characters in a beautiful new imagining of a classic!
"If you're delicate, it means no one has tried to break you." Mina is sixteen years old when she comes to Whitespring. Her mother is dead and she sees few options for a future. When Mina learns that her father, a dangerous magician, has replaced her own weak heart with one made of glass she realizes that even the prospect of love is impossible. What Mina does have is beauty. And a secret. She hopes to be able to use both to stay clear of her father and win the king. For if the king and his kingdom fall for her beauty, surely they will be able to love her even if her glass heart makes her incapable of returning the feeling. Lynet has always looked like her mother--a resemblance that is even more striking now that her sixteenth birthday is approaching--but her personality could not be more different. Lynet does not want to be beautiful or delicate like her dead mother. She wants to be strong and fearless like her stepmother Mina. When Lynet learns the truth, that a magician made her out of snow in her mother's image, it feels like her destiny will never be hers to control. When the king names Lynet queen of the southern territories instead of Mina, a rivalry forms between them. As previously unbreakable bonds are tested and friends threaten to become enemies both Mina and Lynet will have to decide if they are capable of transcending their beginnings to forge a new future in Girls Made of Snow and Glass (2017) by Melissa Bashardoust. In her debut novel Bashardoust offers a feminist retelling of the fairy tale of Snow White with a focus, of course, on the relationship between daughter and step-daughter. The novel alternates between close third person chapters detailing Lynet's present struggles to claim her own fate as her birthday approaches with Mina's past and her early days in Whitespring. Bashardoust's writing is methodical with a slow start to draw readers into the story and introduce both Lynet and Mina. Instead of relying on familiar tropes and stereotypes, both Lynet and Mina are well-developed characters with complicated motivations and conflicting feelings. Both women are ambitious and see the crown as a way to take control of their own lives. But what does that ambition mean compared to years spent as a family? After all, there can only be one queen. This fledgling rivalry forms the majority of the plot while explorations of magic, their own strange beginnings, and what it means to love help to flesh out the story. Lynet's infatuation and eventual relationship with the new palace surgeon--a woman named Nadia--adds another dimension to the story. While the characters and plot are handled well, the overall world building is lackluster. While readers see much of the palace, the rest of Whitespring is unexplored within the text. The magic system is poorly explained with only vague explanations for how Mina and Lynet can live. The curse that shrouds Whitespring in winter year round is equally vague. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a thoughtful and thoroughly feminist fairy tale. Recommended for fans of retellings and readers who prefer character-driven novels. Possible Pairings: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, Frostblood by Elly Blake, Roar by Cora Carmack, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Ash by Malinda Lo, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, Maleficent
2.5 stars? I have seen nothing but high reviews and gushing and people losing their minds and I desperately wanted to love this. I liked Mina and Lynet well enough. Neither one of them stood out to me and excluding the obvious age difference, their narrative didn't sound so different. Because I couldn't connect to the journey of either woman, I didn't quite care what happened. Plot wise, it was so boooooooring. I did like the magic of how they were created, yet I found myself struggling to continue and constantly thought about DNFing. Every time I would decide that I was done, there was a bit of a morsel dropped that kept me going. Every time I thought THIS is where it would turn around and I would be captivated. Overall, the idea is amazing. Sadly, I didn't see the spark that everyone else did. **Huge thanks to Flatiron Books for providing the arc free of charge**
*I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley & Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review* I LOVED this book! I had previously heard about it on social media and I was so happy to get a copy as well. This is essentially a retelling of Snow White and the Huntsman, with a feminist twist. I had such an emotional connection to both Lynette and Mina during this book and I felt that true sense of feminism as an overarching theme throughout the story. Mina, the 'evil queen', was my favorite character. She had that sense of being a strong woman and knew what she wanted, but she also shows an emotional side, which I feel many evil queens in retellings don't have. She and Lynette had a magical bond that I felt leaping off of the pages as I read more and more. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of retellings, specifically Snow White, and who want a new take on a classic fairy tale.
When I first saw the words “feminist reimagining of Snow White”, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was excited, of course, and even more so when I saw that was a lesbian feminist retelling, but it didn’t immediately occur to me that the way to tweak Snow White into a fairytale I could really love hinged on the stepmother-stepdaughter relationship. But now that I’ve read the book I’m so glad that Melissa Bashardoust did. Girls Made of Snow and Glass places Mina and Lynet at the center and weaves a new context for the Snow White story around them to show how they can come into conflict with each other, without it hinging on the antiquated idea of “women must always be jealous of anyone younger and more beautiful”. Instead, the book explores how damaging it is to be judged based on appearances in two forms: Mina using her beauty as a tool, while knowing that as it fades it becomes a danger to her, and Lynet being the image of her dead mother while struggling to escape her legacy and become her own person. I love the way the way the author selected which parts of Snow White to incorporate into the story. Obviously, it addresses the concept of “the fairest of them all”, and the classic mirror can be seen in several objects and in Mina’s power over glass. Lynet’s origins and other details of the book also reference the Grimms’ story. However, there are no seven dwarves anywhere, which I think was a good decision. It made the Snow White aspect of the story more of a matter of referencing a story we already know in order to make a commentary on it, rather than a matter of hitting each plot point of the original story just for the sake of it. And of course, one big change is that Lynet has Nadia, the palace surgeon, rather than a prince. The romance is a smaller aspect of the book, but I really loved how slowly developed it was, how great it was to have a lesbian character in fantasy, and how Nadia connected to the traditional prince role. As for things I didn’t like as much — I loved Mina’s glass magic and how it was used, but I feel like Lynet’s power was too wide open to be interesting. The ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as I wanted after such a wonderful book. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about the fact that the author had to introduce an entirely new villain to the original story to drive the conflict; it’s not that it was bad, it’s just hard to articulate how I feel it could have been handled better. However, overall Girls Made of Snow and Glass was an interesting, emotional, beautiful book. While it fell short a little looking back on it, the actual reading experience was one of my favorites of the entire year
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.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass was easily one of the best retellings I've read this year. Melissa Bashardoust worked magic in creating this story that was at once immediately recognizable as the classic fairytale while also spinning a narrative entirely its own. There were unexpected depths to this story that made it utterly enchanting. I'm definitely going to be picking up a finished copy of this beauty! While I could be wrong, I believe that this book is based off both Snow White and The Snow Queen. Lynet is a princess made of snow and blood, built as a replacement for a Queen who died too soon. Mina is her stepmother, a queen with a glass heart, left unable to love by the process that saved her life. Girls Made of Snow and Glass chronicles Lynet and Mina's stories, from their respective childhoods to the ultimate conclusion. The story shifts back and forth between the present and the past, slowly revealing the entire story. I was surprised by how character-based this story was. At first, it was a little too slow for me but then I was swept away and would have been entirely happy if it had been longer. I loved Lynet's journey, I could really relate to her struggles to define herself outside of other's expectations of her. Mina also went through a similar journey and there were moments when my heart broke for her. Both of the main characters were beautifully written and I absolutely adored them. Lynet's snow magic and Mina's glass magic were marvelous additions to the story, adding just the right touch of enchantment to the story. Girls Made of Snow and Glass was a wonderful feminist retelling of two of my favorite fairytales. This fantastic debut combined magic, love, and family to make a story that was both captivating and relatable. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’m going to be really honest with you all, I was never a fan of Snow White. I never really enjoyed the movie and I didn’t think Snow White was a particularly engaging princess. I can say that Girls Made of Snow and Glass surpassed all of my expectations. This book is so much more than a Snow White retelling. It’s a story of love, family, discovering your inner strength and power, and making your own choices. We follow Princess Lynet as she nears her sixteenth birthday and discovers truths about herself and her mother’s death that she isn’t ready to face. We see Mina at sixteen, trying create love and happiness by becoming Queen. We follow Lynet and Mina as they begin to drift apart, and desperately cling to their own hopes that their relationship isn’t broken. Things I Liked : Lynet and Mina’s relationship was my absolute favorite part of the story. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and completely original. This isn’t a wicked stepmother who is jealous of a younger, more beautiful daughter and vows revenge. This is the story of a broken woman, who thinks she is incapable and undeserving of love. Combined with her daughter who is now unsure of who she is and who she can trust, while still greatly admiring her stepmother. It’s a deeply complex and emotional relationship that is a joy to read. I loved the different fantastical magical elements in the story. I love that the characters have magic that is unique to them. It made the magic more personable and accessible for the reader. It wasn’t a vague concept, but smartly grounded with our characters. I love that we got to see Mina when she was sixteen. I think these chapters were my favorite parts of the story. (I did slightly prefer Mina over Lynet). We really get to see her develop as a character. She could never only be the evil stepmother, because she is so well developed especially in these background chapters. The story is such a fantastic retelling. The characters are reimagined beautifully, the relationships are well established. The story is uniquely crafted and distinct, while still feeling familiar. Things I Didn’t Like : There was very little world building in the story. We get to see a bit of both the North and the South, but we don’t really get much history about Whitespring, their culture, or customs. I would have liked to know more about this fantastical world. There were two instances of miscommunication or assumptions (both by Lynet) that really frustrated me. Miscommunication and assumptions as a plot device is one of my least favorite things, it’s always frustrating and usually makes me like the character a little bit less. I can understand where Lynet was coming from and why she acted rashly, and didn’t want to hear any explanations. But as the reader, we know more than her, we know she should stop and listen, so it was mildly frustrating that she didn’t. I don’t think I can properly articulate how utterly captivating Lynet and Mina’s relationship is. Everyone should read this just to get all the feels from all of their interactions. This is such a breath of fresh air in the world of retellings - you get more than you expect and are left completely satisfied. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is an alluring tale of family, friendship, trust, expectations, and love. I received a copy of the book from Flatiron Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Tell me a book is a fairy tale retelling and I will want to get my hands on it immediately. Tell me it's about Snow White and I'll want to read it that much more, if only because it doesn't seem to be as popular of fodder as other fairy tales. I can only think of one other Snow White retelling I've read and given how many retellings I've read over the years, that's pretty sad. Retellings can go in many directions but the best make it entirely their own. Such is the case with Girls Made Of Snow And Glass. Bashardoust gives us the outlines of the Snow White story but reinvents the details and we are left with a stunning, magical tale, one which centers the female characters and their relationships. In fact, most of the male characters in this story creeped me out and for good reason. In this version of Snow White, Mina is the wicked stepmother and Lynet is Snow White. Lynet adores her stepmother from the start, having been deprived of most relationships outside of her father. Mina doesn't really know what to do with Lynet at first but the two come to find their own rhythms and routine. This changes when Lynet grows older and societal forces begin to pit the two women against each other. The whole while the story asks us to consider who we know ourselves to be versus what others believe is true of us. The actions we take from this knowledge can drive our lives in different directions and that is precisely what happens to Mina and Lynet. Take everything you know about Snow White's tale and throw it out the window because while the outline is there, this story is best experienced blind, each twist and turn becoming a revelation. My heart broke for both Mina and Lynet, for the ways they were limited by virtue of being women and for the ways people failed them and they failed themselves. I wanted Mina to make better choices and to experience the power of unconditional love. I wanted Lynet to grow a backbone and take charge of her life and decisions. I wanted them to find a way forward together. See? Not your average Snow White story. The magic elements were fascinating and served the plot well. I liked what it said about power and strength and the wisdom to know the difference. Bashardoust emphasizes some really important messages about women: that women are more than their parents' mistakes, more than society's limitations, more than shallow understandings of what beauty is. Mina and Lynet wrestle with these ideas in different ways but one of my most favorite was Lynet's burgeoning understanding of her sexuality. Instead of a prince, Lynet falls in love with a visiting female doctor and this leads to some of the sweetest, most tender moments in the story. But the best moments were the scenes with Lynet and Mina. Their relationship is the driving force and we are never certain whether the characters will believe the best or worst about each other as we come toward the end. Over and over we see how everyone deserves to be loved. The question is are we willing to accept that love? And what will we do to show our love for others? I couldn't put this one down and I'm so glad the story swept me away. Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is told from two points of view, Lynet and Mina, but told at different time frames, Lynet is during the present time where as Mina is told from the past leading up to the present. The dynamic between Lynet and Mina is very interesting, Mina just want to be loved and Lynet just wants to be treated like a normal person, not a fragile treasure that may break. The background of both Lynet and Mina are very interesting and creepy at the same time. I won’t go into much detail since it will spoil the book. But man do both of their fathers have some major issues. I enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. I didn’t expect the small twists of info about Lynet and Mina to be what they were. I didn’t expect there to be a “Princess Charming” in here, and I loved it. I liked how MIna and Lynet came into their own with their “abilities” and found a way to overcome their downfalls, which happened to both be tied to their fathers and find their own voices. I feel that this is a great book to show the importance of feminism in a positive light, and how females can help each other to overcome barriers that are placed in front of them, and that they can live together peacefully without the need to kill each other.