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

Mina, saved by her father through his magical abilities, giving her a heart of glass and Lynet, whose life is owed to a magical marriage of snow and blood must come together to break the bond of patriarchal control that threatens to suffocate their bright and extraordinary spirits.

Mina has been told her entire life that she is unlovable because her heart does not function like a ‘normal’ person’s would. In a cunning attempt at rebellion and a desperate search for control, Mina suggests to her father, Gregory, that they set out for Whitespring where she will seduce King Nicholas, promising her father a place in her highest ranks once she is successful, playing to his desire for power.

And perhaps– perhaps the king wouldn’t find Mina’s condition so repellent when his own daughter’s birth was so unconventional. Perhaps he was the one person in the world who would be able to love her.

Mina quickly learns that the way to Nicholas’s heart is through his young daughter, Lynet and here the two narratives converge. Lynet is an isolated child, always under strict protection of her assumed weak constitution. She was created in the delicate image of her mother- a daughter of magic, snow and blood. Confined to Whitespring, Lynet has never ventured beyond the walls that surround her castle. The closest she has come is to climb the tallest trees, forever with her head in the clouds but always aware of the activity of her kingdom.

When a young, female surgeon arrives on the grounds of Whitespring, something stirs within Lynet. Nadia sits in stark contrast to Lynet- she is free to come a go as she wishes, to pursue her interests and desires while Lynet must be content to putter around the castle awaiting the day when she is sure to become Queen. When she hears her stepmother’s plot to undermine King Nicholas and secure the crown for herself, Lynet makes a decision that changes everything.

Nadia thought Lynet couldn’t survive outside Whitespring, but she was wrong; the only way to survive at all was to leave Whitespring, to make  a new life for herself outside these walls. She’d been born and shaped from a dead woman, living under her ghostly shadow, and now she would finally escape it the only way she knew how.

A fight for the crown ensues, but it quickly becomes clear that Mina and Lynet are just pawns in a greater battle. In order to survive they must harness the power within themselves, which, when discovered, comes as a surprise to both young women. Once the true enemies are identified, they must work together to overcome their limited arcane physicality and find within themselves the lasting well of resilience and courage.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust aims to shatter the standard fairy tale through a female-lead, redemptive plot and a subtle LGBTQ+ romance that further cements this novel in the ranks of up-and-coming modern, fantasy YA.

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A review copy of this title was provided by Flatiron Books.

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