Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Audiobook Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Pub. Date:Sept. 5, 2017
Publisher:Macmillan Audio
Narrator:Jennifer Ikeda
Length:12 hrs 5 min
Source:Publisher

So this story is a bit out of my normal wheelhouse, but it was a nice diversion. The synopsis really says it all... this is a somewhat feminist retelling of Snow White

Our "evil" stepmother character is Mina, with a heart made of glass. I liked that Mina's character was misunderstood rather than truly evil, and I felt more drawn to her character than I expected to be. Mina grew up with an uncaring and slightly evil father, and her longing for love made me sympathetic to her. I enjoyed the play on the magic mirror giving Mina the power over glass, and her creation of Felix was an interesting take on the original story. As we saw Mina grow from young adulthood to a stepmother queen, her desperation for love and understanding was clear to the reader. It was easy to feel sorry for her and want things to go her way.

Our Snow White character is Lynet, a daughter the king commissioned to be created from the snow by Mina's father, when the king was grieving over the death of his queen. Having been cast in her image, Lynet grew up in the dead queen's shadow... always compared to someone she has never known. She was feeling trapped by her father's expectations, and rebelled in small ways without coming out and telling the king that she didn't want to be queen. It was interesting to have a LGBT heroine, and I enjoyed the diversity. But I also liked that the LGBT aspect was not overpowering or the main focus of the story. The author did a good job at making it an aspect of the characters without adding in too many overt details that would throw me out of the story... and, as this was not a romance, I wasn't expecting a ton of romantic details. So I was able to enjoy the budding friendship and relationship as we followed along with Lynet's coming of age and character development.

The relationship between Mina and Lynet was complicated, and I was happy that I didn't have to root for one over the other. The villains in this story were actually the men, in different ways. Both father's, the king and the sorcerer, had unrealistic expectations for their daughters. While one set of expectations came from a nefarious place, the other set were grief driven, but both were just as damaging to our heroines. So that is where the feminist aspect kicks in and our hope that girl power triumphs over male oppression. It was interesting for sure.

I will say that having two female leads and switching between their past and present stories what sometimes a challenge in audio. If you happened to miss the chapter heading that indicated whose POV you were getting, then there could be a short bit of confusion. But I got used to it as the story progressed and it happened less often once I was about half through. The narrator did a good job differentiating between male and female affectations, and the difference between female voices was fair.

I could have used some stronger world building for the story. I liked the divergence between the North and South climatically, and would have liked more details of the kingdoms, the people, and how that dividing line worked. I also wanted more explanation of the magic and magically born or created, as there were seemingly only three characters with magical abilities. I found myself constantly wondering how the magical creation worked and why some creations aged and some did not.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this audiobook that I received from the publisher, Macmillan Audio.