Book review · Fantasy · Young adult

Rewiew: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

girlswordpressThis book is a lot like its cover.
It’s quiet, a bit dark at times, and kind of cold. Many people thought it was boring; I was underwhelmed by it at first, but I grew to love it with time.

This is a fairytale where women have agency, a fairytale which explores many kinds of relationships between women – mothers and daughters, girlfriends (yes, there is a f/f relationship!), allies.

It would have been so easy to paint Mina (Lynet’s stepmother) as evil. She’s the villain in most fairytales, the cold woman who cannot love, too ambitious, not motherly enough. Girls Made of Snow and Glass gives her a PoV, and shows us that she’s human.
I didn’t like her as much as Lynet, and I found her PoV a bit repetitive at times – I know, you’re convinced you cannot love, can we move on? – but I understood her. She’s not a cardboard cutout. She’s a character, a person.
Many times I feared that this book would have ended in anti-aro territory. The premise of Mina’s storyline is that she cannot love because she has a glass heart, and that kind of story usually makes the comparison “romantic love = humanity”, which I hate.
This time the storyline was handled well. Maybe other aro readers will disagree with me, but since Mina’s supposed inability to love and be loved was extended to every kind of love, not only romantic love, it didn’t fall in that trope.

Lynet’s PoV was my favorite, mostly because her relationship with the surgeon Nadia (women in science! Women in science in fantasy! Queer women of color who are scientists in a fantasy book!) and I would have liked to see more of that. Until the ending, I was afraid they were not going to end up together. Why? Because lately all f/f pairings I meet break up. So this was refreshing.
I also really liked Lynet. She’s a girl made of snow who was created with magic to replace her dead mother. Because of that, she feels like she doesn’t fit in her own skin. Her mother was fragile, so everyone expected Lynet to be the same way, and didn’t let her breathe.
Mina and Lynet have a really complex relationship. Both of them are in a difficult situation and they were hurt by their upbringing. Many times they are turned against each other.

I really liked the writing. The descriptions were simple, minimal, and yet I could visualize everything effortlessly.
The pacing is really slow, and this is a quiet book. I understand why many reviewers thought it was boring, but I don’t agree. I also saw some complaints about the underdeveloped worldbuilding, but here’s the thing – I don’t think this book needed more of it.
This is a fairytale, and both the world and the magic system are simple because of that. They’re not the point – this is a book about women supporting each other, not magical fights or foreign politics. More worldbuilding would have meant an even slower book, and I don’t think anyone wanted that.

My rating: ★★½

Have you read Girls Made of Snow and Glass? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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