I recently finished Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Melissa Bashardoust’s novel that has been called “a feminist reimagining of Snow White”. The book was well-written, action-packed, and impressive even to me, a life-long fan of the original Snow White film.
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.
When I was a child, Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Spaceballs” were the only two VHS tapes my siblings and I could find at my grandparent’s house. I watched Snow White nearly every week while eating my grandma’s grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and still find time to rewatch the classic children’s movie. I will always love the spooky atmosphere that follows the story, and the beautiful “vintage” animation.
So, what I’m trying to say is that I have high standards for Snow White adaptations. Recent films like “Snow White and the Huntsmen” failed to recreate the eerie tone of the original.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass, however, blew me away. It expertly added a magical element to a simple fairy tale. The original Grimm’s Snow White is very short and conservative. It is a vapid story, focusing entirely on one Queen’s attempt to be the most beautiful woman in the land. Bashardoust imagines a much more interesting and multi-faceted back story for the “Evil Queen” that explains her actions. The Evil Queen, or “Mina’s” glass heart, and Snow White, or “Lynet’s” creation makes the reader question what it truly means to love to be human.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is filled with action, romance, and violence. I could not put it down and finished it in one day. Coming from someone who typically doesn’t enjoy fantasy, that was a rarity. I highly recommend this novel to anyone, especially those who enjoy fairy tales and magic.