Where Beauty is Opulence and Death: a Review of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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Genre:
Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 434

Series: The Belles #1

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Blurb:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

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“May you always find beauty….”

Just like everyone else, I was stoked when The Belles came out. A brown girl on the cover, looking gorgeous and slayin’ it, no doubt is bound to be an epic fantasy read no?

Well, I have my reasons on why I didn’t exactly enjoy The Belles as much as everyone else did.

First off, the plot was excruciatingly slow. Is there some new trend in YA Fantasy where the plot takes 200 pages to build? Honestly, I haven’t got a clue how did I survive 200 pages where nothing happens and Camille, our protagonist wanders from client to client doing beauty work.

But despite a very slow start, I must admit the world building and writing in The Belles was very good. We’re introduced to a vibrant world of colors and jewels and extravagant customs that make the Orleansians such unique human beings. Being born gray and colourless, people of Orleans need to pay to get beauty work done on them in order to stay beautiful. Now, this is the most disturbing part of the book in my opinion. Constantly having to get beauty work done on you and trying to keep up with the latest trend….where have we heard that before? The Belles questions very well how media has played with the beauty image card for too long, leading to people not satisfied with their looks. This definitely made The Belles such an interesting read to begin with.

Asides from the world building and satisfactory writing, I don’t see what the hype surrounding The Belles is about. The protagonist is one of the least memorable aspects of this book, having so little to do with the scenes and not actually doing much asides from trying to figure out who she should please in the palace. It got a bit irritating when she did that one thing to someone, as if she’s weak when she was portrayed to be brave and a bit reckless from the beginning.

We were introduced to so many characters who played a crucial part in the ending of The Belles. Granted, these characters had very questionable traits in the sense of not being solid enough to give off memorable impressions. For example, I would have loved to know more of Belle history and of Camille’s other 5 sisters, but unfortunately the story revolved entirely on her adapting as the favourite Belle at the palace. Even her love interest fell bland for me, with no substance leaving me thinking “Good God, what does she see in him?”. But, if you’ll be reading The Belles for one reason, let that reason be for the princess. Her cruelty and savage personality is so delicious, she was the only thing I was most interested to read about in the end.

Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with The Belles but can see the appeal and why people are obsessed with the world CLAYTON has built in Orleans. I still think this is worth a try. Let me know if you’ve read it! Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 3.46.50 PM

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Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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A Dark Mysterious Fairy Tale Unravels in the City: a Review of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Genre:
Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: February 8th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 359

Series: The Hazel Wood #1

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Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began

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“Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey’s left undone, fear the rising of the sun.” 

Well where do I begin. I read the raved reviews on Goodreads and the high ratings given. But within 200 pages in, I still couldn’t get into The Hazel Wood. And here are some of my reasons why.

The main protagonist of The Hazel Wood is Alice who lives on the run with her mother, Ella. She knows very little of her recluse author-grandmother, Althea other than the fact she wrote Tales of the Hinterland, a fairy tale book with dark, twisted tales inside. Little do we know, Hinterland proves to be very real and Alice gets sucked into its weird parallel world in order to save Ella, who went missing.

The entire plot fell very flat to me. All 357 pages of it felt excruciatingly painful to finish because it seems MELISSA ALBERT randomly puts Alice in various scenarios with very little finishing as an excuse for a plot. The writing and cast of characters were not as great as I expected a 4-starred-on-Goodreads book to be. Every chapter felt like an awkward transition for Alice, who throughout the entire book, floated around not actually doing anything. And it frustrates me because at a point in the book, Alice claimed to be smart and brave for she is Althea’s granddaughter. But her actions were far from brave or bold as there was always someone to save her ass from a messy situation. It became clear towards the end of The Hazel Wood that Alice can’t seem to function well on her own. Sparse scenes where she supposedly ‘thinks on her feet’ were too weak to make an impact in The Hazel Wood.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, The Hazel Wood just had to have the most annoying protagonist ever. I’m sorry, but Alice did not appeal to me in any way. Sure she came off as this angry, reckless teenager in the beginning, but she truly was without her own rational sense of mind. Alice was whiny, temperamental, and treated her friends who tried to help her terribly. Not to mention, it was a bit weak of her to start regretting her attitude when one of them had an accident. Also, her story did not develop fully in The Hazel Wood because it had such a shaky start. I wish Melissa Albert had given much thought to the type of protagonist The Hazel Wood should have. I truly despise books with female characters who cannot defend themselves nor have their own vision of what needs to be done in the story.

And it amazes me how she survived throughout the entire ordeal– oh wait, that’s because she had a bunch of other characters keeping her from actually dying. Silly me. Must be nice to have someone have your back the whole time without you having to think at all.

Overall, this was one of the weakest first novel in a YA Fantasy series I’ve ever read. I definitely will not be continuing the series. I still have no idea how Sony Pictures has bought the rights to making The Hazel Wood into a movie. You can give The Hazel Wood a try, and I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

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Thank you Times Reads for providing an ARC in exchange of an honest review!

The Questionnaire of Love: a Review of 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicky Grant

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Genre:
Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: October 19th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Singapore
Page Count: 288

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Blurb:

Two random strangers. Thirty-six questions to make them fall in love.

Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for taking part in the psychology study (in Paul’s case it is the $40, in Hildy’s the reasons are significantly more complex). The study poses the simple question: Can love be engineered between two random strangers?

Hildy and Paul must ask each other 36 questions, ranging from “What is your most terrible memory?” to “When did you last sing to yourself?” By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they’ve laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back again. They’ve also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love?

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36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You is your typical YA Contemporary of two teenage star-crossed lovers who meet each other in a psychology study and answer 36 questions to determine intimacy effects in a digitally-obsessed generation. I sort of knew what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book.

And I pretty much got all that I expected. A cheesy love story where two teenagers start out hating each other before settling down to actually answer the questions and realising they have a lot to learn about one another. That said, there were a few elements of the book that I found myself enjoying, surprisingly.

Overall, the plot is nothing special. It’s a typical fluffy YA romance where you just know how it’s going to end. But, I found myself enjoying learning about Hildy and Paul as they answered the questions throughout the book. Grant did a fairly good job in arranging the story so that we saw glimpses of Hildy’s life as she chats to Paul and get to know him via the questions. The troubles she went through at home and how she opened up to Paul was one of my favourite parts of the book. It reminded me of my friendship with one of my best friends and how we’d throw each other questions just to know more of the other’s personal lives.

Other than that, I don’t find anything memorable about 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You. Hildy’s friends and family occasionally appear and don’t make much of a concrete impression. The book focused entirely on the two teenagers and their budding friendship. So if you enjoy reading about just two people falling in love, 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You is perfect for you.

But, bear in mind, this is a very fluffy read. So a lot of the conversations in here were cheesy and unrealistic. Hildy and Paul have nothing in common and Hildy isn’t really the kind of character I would root for. Her being whiny and desperate for love was kind of a turn off for me. But it was pretty easy for me to overlook those annoying traits and still enjoy the book to an extent.

Perfect for a quick summer read, 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You teaches us that there is always more to a person than meets the eye. 

 

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Thank you Pansing Singapore for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

A Love Story Set Light Years Away: a Review of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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Genre:
Science Fiction Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication date: September 7th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 290

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Blurb:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone.

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Warning: mild spoilers from the book!

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“Another ship. It’s the best news I could ever have imagined.

Who are they going to send? Who’s coming?

I stare out of the helm window, straining my eyes against the infinite blackness, pressing my fingernails into my palms so hard they sting. I can’t see anything except the silver pinprick stars.

How long until I’ll be able to see The Eternity?

How long until it will be able to see me?”

Before I start this review, you should know that I have really high expectations for scifi reads, be it in YA or Adult category, due to the nature of my job as a chemical engineer. So naturally, I’d enjoy scifi novels which take great care to provide its readers with impeccable details to complement the plot and characters within the book.

That said, I found The Loneliest Girl in the Universe to fall short within my initial expectations. While the writing was good, the plot and characters involved fell a bit too bland for me. I understand that YA Scifi doesn’t really dwell into plot details or the general space conditions but rather more on the character developments. I compared The Loneliest Girl in the Universe to Claudia Gray’s Defy The Stars and Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe fell behind to be honest.

To begin with, I wished there were more pages to the book. At just 290 pages, it felt too short for a scifi novel where the author was being safe in keeping Romy where she is and the plot that she maintained for the book. The plot was very simple: Romy a 17-year-old girl finds herself as the last surviving human on board The Infinity, on its was to Earth II to begin a new civilization. After 6 years alone, NASA sends a new manned shuttle, The Eternity to aid in her mission. Naturally, Romy finds herself falling in love with J, the lone crew on board The Eternity. While it made sense why Romy would fall in love with J via emails (she did spend 6 years alone after all), the rest of the book did not make sense or excite me.

The author didn’t do a good job in tying up the details of the book. It didn’t make sense for J to be the only person on this one-man mission who claimed he got to work with NASA because he knew someone on the inside. And when the plot revealed the ending, it also didn’t make sense that NASA would send someone like J on such an important mission.

I  wasn’t a big fan of how the author focused a lot on Romy’s feelings towards J. Ultimately the book became a love story where Romy’s strong personality got lost in the plot. I kind of knew there was going to be a love plot from the blurb, but I would have loved to know Romy more in detail, minus her all lovey-dovey for J. Instead of J and his sketchy personality, I was more interested in how Romy survives the loneliness and despair of living alone for the past 6 years. But long after the book ended, Romy’s character wasn’t very memorable for me. I know some people thought her as strong and independent to have gone through what she did, but I didn’t really see that while reading the book.

The plot only became interesting at the last 70 pages of the book when the story took a twist. But the pages before that were really dull for me. The ending of the book actually made The Loneliest Girl in the Universe seem more like a psychological thriller than a scifi. And I’m beginning to believe that thriller might be a better genre for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. There was little mention of how space felt like to Romy or how The Infinity was built, so my cravings for science details were not satiated with this book.

Overall, not the best YA scifi I’ve read. I’m beginning to think this genre might not be for me after all. If you’re big on cliche YA love plots with an unexpected twist, give The Loneliest Girl in the Universe a try! But if you’re expecting a high-packed drama set in space, give this one a pass and maybe try Defy The Stars!

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Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

Down the Infinite Spiral: a Review of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: October 10th, 2017
Format: Hardback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 286

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Blurb:
It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

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“Anybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.” 

Turtles All The Way Down was one of my anticipated reads for fall. I was super stoked when I heard John Green was going to publish a new book, 7 years after The Fault in Our Stars was published. I know John Green can be a hit or miss when it comes to his books. My favourites from him were The Fault in Our Stars, Will Grayson Will Grayson, and An Abundance of Katherines while the rest of his books were lukewarm for me. So naturally I felt a bit apprehensive for Turtles All The Way Down.

I think it’s safe to say how much I enjoyed Turtles All The Way Down! That said, I think this book may have been better suited to be categorized in General Fiction rather than Young Adult just for the sake of gaining more audience to such an important topic. The vibe I felt while finishing this book was so deep and meaningful that I think adults would have enjoyed it just as much as young adults. But I totally understand why this book was solely for young adults. Mental health is such a big issue that’s slowly gaining more awareness through important books such as Turtles All The Way Down. And getting more young adults to read books like these and know they’re not alone is very important.

Ultimately Turtles All The Way Down is about a 16-year-old girl, Aza, who has anxiety and OCD. She experiences psychic pains in her thoughts where she feels she can’t escape them, thus resulting in obsessive behaviour such as cleaning a wound on her finger and reapplying Band-Aid several times a day in an attempt to control these possessive thoughts she has.

Turtles All The Way Down doesn’t really have a plot and that whole “chasing a billionaire fugitive” is just a backstory for Aza and her mental health condition. We get into Aza’s head a lot so don’t expect any phenomenal character development or even a great cast of characters because that’s not what Turtles All The Way Down is about.

“The worst part of being truly alone is you think about all the times you wished that everyone would just leave you be. Then they do, and you are left being, and you turn out to be terrible company.” 

This book is hands down disturbing. But it is necessarily so. Not many people can understand the anxiety of psychic pains in which we have no control over. I have had experiences with anxiety back in college, but I choose not to disclose it here. All I want to say is, it is difficult to explain to people how lonely it gets when your thoughts take control of your self of being to the point you have no idea what to do next. And reading about Aza and her possessive thoughts help us a little in understanding what a difficult experience that is.

“One of the challenges with pain–physical or psychic–is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language.”

Having said that, I found it so easy to read Turtles All The Way Down because I could relate to Aza so much. And why it’s so important to understand that sometimes your thoughts are not entirely your own. How do you be yourself when it’s a person you don’t like being and have no control over?

Turtles All The Way Down faces the underlying issue of how anxiety can be so easily concealed in the public eye. We see Aza’s friends knowing little of her condition but not understanding it entirely. They don’t ask what it’s like for her and how does it hurt. They assume she’s selfish and overreacting when they don’t know what it’s really like inside her head and how terrifying those thought processes are.

“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice on the matter.” 

Nothing is really straight forward in Turtles All The Way Down and I like how this is so representative of living with mental health conditions. The friendship between Aza and Davis feels so incomplete and lacking. But I think from the beginning it was made obvious that this novel isn’t really about love. Or even about friends and family. It’s about Aza and her own self. So kudos to John Green for not romanticizing mental health!

Turtles All The Way Down is not your typical YA book, and I love it the more so because of it. It’s raw and honest, and being an #OwnVoices book in which John Green opens up about his experience with anxiety gives Turtles All The Way Down an added reason to be read. This book can be heavy and a bit slow in some parts, but I have enjoyed every page that comes with it.

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Overall, this book has made it to one of my favourite John Green’s writings. And naturally, you are going to come across reviews on how cliche his philosophical proses are (much so like The Fault in Our Stars) and how cheesy his characters seem to be, but do at least consider reading Turtles All The Way Down if you want something different from the YA Contemporary shelf. And be prepared to enter Aza’s head….

“The problem with happy endings is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.” 

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A Story That Tugs You Northward: a Review of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Knope
Publication date: 1995
Format: Paperback
Source: Penguin Random House Malaysia
Page Count: 399

Series: His Dark Materials #1

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Blurb:
What Lyra likes best is “clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war.”

But Lyra’s carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust.

Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from “gyptians“ to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

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“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.” 

The Golden Compass is definitely a unique and interesting first installment to the highly-acclaimed His Dark Materials Trilogy. I’ve heard of this series for a while now and with the excitement surrounding The Book of Dust coming out on 19th October, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the original series. The Book of Dust is set in the world of His Dark Materials, so I’m pretty excited to start this series.

Right off the bat I have to say this fantasy series crosses between both young adult and adult fantasy genres. The way the story skips from childish language to subliminal messages buried within the plot was nothing short of amazing. While this may throw off some people as the writing style switches every so often, I personally found that this trait adds to the book’s appeal. Sure it was frustrating at times to read about an extensive description of a scene, but to have a precocious child like Lyra Balacqua simplify everything afterward helped a lot. So a fair warning to future readers: the writing can get long-winded and very descriptive (just like adult fantasy reads tend to do), but if you can get used to that sort of writing, then you’ll enjoy the plot and group of characters in The Golden Compass.

Speaking of characters, there was nothing short in the supply of characters written in this book. From armored bears, fierce and loyal Gyptians, to endearing daemons who are the reflections to a human soul, you’ll find something to love in each character. The only problem I had was the lack of depth the characters seem to have, asides from Lyra of course. While it was enjoyable to follow her plight to the North, I wish the other characters were written with more depth. I would have loved to know more background on Mrs Coulter and Lord Asriel, and also more on Farder Coram and John Faa. I would have appreciated to have known where they originated and their intentions by the end of the book. Sure a couple of the characters’ persona were greatly revealed at the end of the book, but some were left hanging and I’m hoping they get more attention in the sequels.

On the other hand, the plot was very well written in my opinion. There have been countless discussions surrounding His Dark Materials and its subliminal messages about anti-Christianity or anti-organized religion for that matter. But you can definitely enjoy this book despite whatever faith you hold. The plot did get draggy in the first 200 pages but it picked up pretty quickly afterwards. We got to see Lyra quick and brilliant mind in saving the children from the North. We also got to see who (or what) these daemons really are and what they represent by the end of the book. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns that gripped my attention. And while some scenes were very short-lived, I believe there is much potential in this series for the sequel to make up for.

On a side note, the fact that this book has been reviewed many times for its religious (or anti-religious) themes have been fascinating. I’ve become a bit obsessed in reading reviews about the book and the movie adaptation from other readers, Christians and non-Christians alike. Though no Biblical scenes were explicitly written about in this book, a certain religious conversation at the end of the book will leave you thinking what the author is trying to present through his characters.

I was a bit surprised to discover that this book was written for children when it would have suited more matured readers with its deep embedded messages. But I assure you as children with much simpler minds, they will still be able to enjoy this book for its great cast of characters and the amazing plot. Asides from that, I leave it up to you to read more on the religious themes set within the book yourself.

But let me just say, when I figured out the roles of daemons, Dust and Lord Asriel in their connection to the entire plot, things got a whole lot more impressive.

“Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.” 

Overall, I enjoyed The Golden Compass. Though a lot of descriptions and draggy plots were involved, I believe it was necessary to build the world of parallels for the sequels to take place in.

Have you read this trilogy and what did you think about it?

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Thank you Penguin Random House Malaysia for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review!

A Love so Sharp and Cutting: a Review of Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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Genre:
Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: September 5th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Malaysia
Page Count: 384

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Blurb:
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.

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I was very excited upon receiving an ARC of Girls Made of Snow and Glass. I didn’t know much about it and there hasn’t been much reviews up when I got the book. But I have seen some excitement surrounding it and decided to go in blindly. I was aware that Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a Snow White retelling and while Snow White is my least favourite Disney princess, I was still excited to read this.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass brings us on a journey of two brilliant and strong female characters: Mina, the Whitespring Queen who happens to be Lynet’s stepmother. You’ll find similarities in Girls Made of Snow and Glass to Snow White. For example, references to mirrors and apples are frequently made. And the Hunstman that freed Snow White when he was supposed to kill her also makes and appearance. But unlike the originial story, he plays a much bigger role in this book.

“You’ll find something that’s yours alone. And when you do, don’t let anyone take it from you…”

I love how much depth Girls Made of Snow and Glass contained. I’ve always loved fairy tale retellings, because it allows us to think back on the definition of ‘evil’ and ‘wickedness’. The battle between good and bad has always been crystal clear in myths and fairy tales. But with retellings, you just never know who’s the real villain in the story.

And that is what’s so great about Girls Made of Snow and Glass. We get to see more of the evil stepmother and her roots before becoming Queen. What really happened to her that turned her into the heartless figure we’ve all known from Snow White? And is she really as evil as she’s made out to be?

All these questions gets answered in Girls Made of Snow and Glass on top of us getting more action from Lynet. She’s definitely the opposite of Snow White. She started out delicate, fragile and soft in the beginning, but her development throughout the book is just plain awesome.

I have so much love for these 2 characters. While most fantasy books have two women in power fighting each other, Girls Made of Snow and Glass shows us just how possible it is for 2 strong women to support and love one another. And their journey in achieving that trust and support was truly well written. This is one of the most feministic fantasy books I have ever read, and I admit we need more of this character positivity in the world. We need women everywhere to know that we should stand by each other, not tear one another apart for power.

On top of that, the ideology of true love and what it means gets addressed so well in this book. Mina who’s been chasing after love for so long will soon realise where true love resides and how Lynet plays a part in in it. Too often many of us believe that love only resides in relationships and Prince Charming. But Girls Made of Snow and Glass shows us that love can easily be found, if we see the beauty in each person instead of the bad.

“Weak or strong – she didn’t know what they meant anymore. Maybe they didn’t mean the same thing for everyone…”

Overall, a brilliant fairy tale retelling that will make you see the original story in a whole new light. With a brilliant new cast of characters and more magical scenes, Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a read not to be missed!

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Thank you Pansing Malaysia for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review!