Goodreads: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Published: September 5, 2017
Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale.
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 is a quiet yet powerful reimagining of “Snow White” that focuses on relationships rather than action. While the pacing is slow at times, the novel shines when showing readers the love between Princess Lynet and her stepmother and all the obstacles, both external and internal, they need to overcome to keep it.
The first half of the novel was my favorite because it focuses on Lynet and Mina and really delves into their hopes and dreams, their struggles, and all the forces that have made them who they are. Both have somewhat disappointing fathers, as Lynet’s is obsessed with her dead mother (to the point where he seems a bit one-dimensional as a character, to be honest) and wants Lynet to be just like her, and Mina’s father has always been out for himself; when he interacts with Mina, it’s just to get her help in obtaining something he wants.
It’s rather beautiful to read their alternating chapters, as the book shows both the past, where Mina fought to become a queen and feel she had some power in the world and over her own life, and the present, where Lynet and Mina have a loving relationship in spite of all the people who never wanted them to become close. Bashardoust’s skill really lies in drawing these complex women and in drawing all the lines that connect them to the people around them.
Because I was kind of just interested in watching the characters grow and interact, I thought things got a bit boring once the climax of the novel hit, when the “Snow White” retelling part really takes off, as Lynet flees the castle to be safe from her stepmother, etc. I do think the pacing was off here, which didn’t help. It felt slow for a while and then got fast suddenly at the end, but Lynet and Mina without each other were also simply less interesting. Bashardoust still tries to explore their feelings, their choices, their fates in this section of the book, but I just wanted them to get back together to see what happened then.
Overall, I enjoyed the book because of the deep look into interiority readers get. The “Snow White” aspect was vaguely interesting, and the magic and the world building had their moments, but I wouldn’t recommend the book for those things. If you want a book about strong female relationships or about complicated family relationships, this is a gem. If you want an original and exciting fairy tale retelling or complex magic system, there are better books to choose.