Monday, March 23, 2015

Since I Am Not So Great at Blogging, Here's Something I Can Do!

As anyone who stumbles upon this page will see, I am an erratic blogger. However, I do like to write book reviews! Reading is really how I ended up writing anyhow, so I think this time, I'm going to go full circle.

The last book I read was Stitching Snow, by R. C. Lewis:

Take a minute to admire this cover. Pretty cool.

Stitching Snow was (as you might have guessed by the cover) a retelling of Snow White. It also happened to be in space (and no, it is not a rip off of Cinder, but a totally different sci-fi take).

In brief, Essie, a cage fighter on a lonely mining planet of Thanda, gets kidnapped by a *mysterious young good-looking dude named Dane. Essie is a brilliant inventor, and she "stitches" machines together (the coding, programming, and designing is referred to her as stitching), which I thought (as a crafty person) was a cool metaphor. Essie's only companions pre-Dane were seven mining droids with disparate personalities (one of the more original takes on the Seven Dwarves, for sure).
  Anyhow, after Dane figures out that Essie is the lost Princess Snow he's been hunting, he kidnaps her and they hurtle off into space adventures. There is a lot of baggage, an evil queen, and a truly terrifying king (Essie's abusive father, think Deerskin, *shudders*), and some obnoxious techies as well.

What worked/what I liked: 

1. Essie is a strong heroine who overcomes a dreadful past, and not all of her strength is physical/kickbutt. She's a programmer, which is very cool. Unlike many YA heroines of the same type (I'm looking at you Katniss), she ultimately decides to do the right thing for the greater good, and doesn't let her past reduce her to a passive victim.
2. No love triangle 
3. The Seven Dwarves as robots 
4. Every major element of Snow White made it in, in a unique sci-fi way, from the Huntsman, to the apple.
5. The cover. Just look at it for a minute.

What didn't work/What I didn't like:

1. The flimsy worldbuilding. Honestly, the author had the makings of a fascinating new world with all the cultures and trappings of sci-fantasy, aaaand, she just didn't do much with it. I really wanted to know more about Essie's universe.
2. In that same line, I felt like the author only brushed the surface of the characters outside of Essie. The evil queen, Olivia, in particular, felt more like a caricature than a character, and [outside of being vain and evil] I wasn't exactly sure why she did what she did. (You can fill in the blanks and guess, right, but that's no substitute for a well drawn character)
3. Dane was boring. Other than being principled (minus the abduction part) and a devoted son, and in love with Essie, there wasn't much there. This is more minor, as he was the love interest/plot catalyst, not the main character, but I would have liked to see more personality. His motivations and actions were understandable, as were his feelings for Essie, but he just felt flat to me.
4. Essie's computer skills were awesome-but I don't think we saw them enough. I would have liked to know more about her "stitching," and how she learned to do it so well.
5. Honestly, everyone and everything but Essie and her robots seemed half-formed. I think that was, overall, my biggest problem with the book. There were a lot of storylines and complex threads, but few of them were fully explored. It's hard to write more without spoilers, so I'll leave it there.

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

*Seriously, where do all of these mysterious good-looking dudes with a past come from? I think there is a factory. In space.