Mina is sixteen, the daughter of a dead mother and a vicious father. When Mina was a small, sickly girl with a heart condition, her father's magic saved her by giving her a heart of glass. Because of her heart, Mina is convinced she is unable to love and to be loved, with nothing but her beauty to get her through life—and she will use it to become a Queen. When Mina and her father move up to the frozen North, she finds a castle, a King, a home, and a stepdaughter. And she will fight to keep those at any cost.
Lynet is growing up to look exactly like her beloved-by-all dead mother. With a loving father who cherishes her, a loving kingdom at her feet, and a stepmother she adores, Lynet has everything a girl would want. But there is the constant nagging and the impossible expectations to become Queen one day, and the constant comparison against a mother she never really knew. At first comfortable with the life in the frozen North, she is eager to discover new things too—and when a young female doctor shows up to work at the castle she is thoroughly fascinated by her.
A fairytale retelling of Snow White, Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust is a novel about beauty and love, nature and nurture, and dark secrets and untold betrayals. The novel does a really awesome job at subverting Snow White, with its focus on the female relationships in the novel. There is magic and (happy) queer romance, adventure and lots of conflict between the two main characters.
Alternating between past and present, Mina and Lynet’s viewpoint, the novel follows their lives and their relationship with each other from the first time they met; when Lynet was a toddler and Mina a 16-year-old. From the start the two girls/women are pitted against one another by outside forces (Lynet’s father is the worst in a really interesting subversion of the original tale) and need to find a way to find their way over and over again.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a very character-driven novel, with Mina and Lynet having to understand the nature of their relationship, to navigate the waters of horrendous patriarchal bullshit, to deal with the lies and expectations from their fathers, and process the absence of their mothers. I’ve seen Girls Made of Snow and Glass touted as Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber and I can see that similarity but to me, the closest—and much better—comparison is the magnificent Maleficent.
While the novel sometimes meanders through repetitious conflict for too long (especially in the middle), I found a lot to love here: the relationships, the two characters (but especially Mina) and the resolution to the ongoing conflict between these two women who have always loved each other.
In Booksmugglerish: 7 out of 10.