I first heard about this one in the BuzzBooks Fall/Winter preview (See my blog post here)
When I was approved, I jumped into reading. I like re-tellings when the story is taken and made into the authors own. That was evident here.
Being told in two separate timelines, from before the Evil Queen, Mina age sixteen, rose to power and Snow, Lynet age fifteen, when Mina is already in power.
The dynamic is quite different in this take. Mina in her younger years we find acquired a heart made of glass from her magician father. Effecting the entirety of the rest of her life, she has trouble feeling anything.
Lynet is completely changed as a character in that she was made out of snow and blood in her deceased mothers likeness. Nicholas, the King, couldn’t deal with the death of his beloved and when his queen had been living she had always wanted a daughter. Nicholas seeks out Mina’s father and bam! Lynet is created.
The biggest problem is that in creating Lynet, Mina’s father ages quickly.
The most odd aspect in this entire story, and there is no shortage of odd(!), is that Mina is seen as less in the eyes of her father, Gregory. That read as strange to me. I was willing to accept the steampunk esque heart replacement. I was able to accept the creation of Lynet through snow and blood. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why Gregory was so cruel to Mina. So dismissive. It never really got explained in a way that made any sense to me. *shrug*
Lynet and Mina are sort of friends destined to be enemies. Mina has complicated emotions that she doesn’t know what to do with because she can’t fully feel them. She feels a sort of remorse after the “death” of Lynet, but doesn’t let that stop her from her reign as Queen.
Lynet and Mina were great characters to read about because of their friendship angle. This novel had an emotional pathos that rang true.
I think most readers will be able to read between the lines on Nadia and Lynet and I will not spoil that too much by commenting more.
I especially liked that the kiss from a prince was taken out of this retelling. I also appreciated that the focus was not on the beauty as much as on the threat Mina felt of not being Queen anymore.
Parts of it reminded me of Romeo and Juliet.
Females don’t have to all see each other as rivals and threats. We can form alliances and friendship. Yes friendships can be thorny and Mina and Lynet definitely had some bizarre ups and downs(!), but ultimately? Ultimately we need more books like this that build up the relationships of females in a way that feels real.
The males are not made small to make the females seem stronger.
I very much liked the mingling of the character Felix (Huntsman and Man in the Mirror).
As far as a modern telling? I think it worked extremely well.