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Stitching Snow Hardcover – October 14, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Essie is the only female living in mining settlement Forty-Two and earns her keep by "stitching" or repairing junk-tech for the local miners. She is an unwelcome presence, despite her much-needed expertise, and leads a precarious and solitary existence. When a shuttle crashes, leaving a stranger named Dane without a functional ship, Essie begrudgingly agrees to help him. It turns out that Dane is on a search for Princess Snow, the royal heir who went missing eight years ago. Once he realizes that Essie is indeed the princess, he kidnaps her, intending to use her as a bargaining chip in a prisoner swap. Forced to divulge secrets that she has long guarded, Essie convinces Dane that she is no friend of the court and the two join forces. This is a superb sci-fi retelling of "Snow White." Lewis does a marvelous job of slowly revealing the backstory of Essie's royal childhood, her incestuous relationship with the king, and the mystery surrounding her real mother. Inventive nods to the original fairy tale, such as the seven droids Essie built and the death scene of the evil queen, are expertly done. This has strong appeal for sci-fi and fantasy lovers and fans of Marissa Meyer's "Lunar Chronicles" (Feiwel & Friends).—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI
"Snow White" gets an upgrade in this clever, surprisingly gritty science-fiction version. Essie has spent eight years hiding in the hardscrabble mining settlements of Thanda, cage fighting for cash and "stitching" machine code, especially for her seven autonomous drones. When Dane, the charming offworlder she rescues from a shuttle crash, discovers that she is the long-lost Princess Snow, he can't leave behind such a valuable pawn in the ongoing interplanetary war. But what if Essie refuses to go home? Elements of the classic fairy tale are skillfully woven into this update, with a particularly delightful nod to the Disney dwarves. But Essie is no passive, pretty princess; she is tough, cynical, paranoid and prone to violent rages-rough edges that gradually make sense as the horrific truths about her childhood are revealed. Dane, in contrast, is the perfect prince: strong, gentle, devoted and (irritatingly) slightly better than Essie at everything. Sweet romance and graphic violence, earthy humor and chilling abuse, space-opera settings and vintage derring-do-they all intertwine with unexpected panache. If the wicked king and the downright monstrous stepmother are cartoonishly evil, their villainous schemes implausibly over-the-top and the climactic revolt against their tyranny ludicrously simple well, the source tale is hardly free of plot holes, either, and who cares when it's so entertaining? A fine addition to the ever popular subgenre of fairy-tale adaptations. (Science fiction. 12-18) Kirkus"
40 new titles to feed your YA book addiction: http: //www.cnn.com/2014/09/17/living/fall-young-adult-book-releases/index.html?iid=article_sidebar CNN Living"
Essie, a part-time cage fighter and repairs genius on the subzero mining planet Thanda, has her life thrown into upheaval when a ship crash-lands. Inside, she finds the mysterious Dane, a young man from the planet Garam. They clash immediately, he from the upper echelons and she barely scraping by, but their romance builds gradually and irresistibly. Together, they seek a treasure that could change the galaxy and both their lives. They travel to other planets and meet revolutionaries while narrowly avoiding immigration control, which could imprison both of them, as well as hired killers with eyes out for anyone who could disrupt the status quo in the capital city of Windsong. Readers are thrown right into the action-the novel opens with a cage fight between protagonist Essie and a miner-but progress from there is slow. There's a definite learning curve to the invented vocabulary, which may deter causal readers. It's a gripping story with lots of moving parts and will likely appeal to fans of genre fiction. Stacey Comfort Booklist"
Even by the rough-and-tumble standards of the frozen planet Thanda, Essie is unusual-she likes to cage-fight angry men just back from working in the mines, and when Essie isn't fighting, she's a mechanic, fixing ships and tinkering with drones. After a stranger named Dane crashes on Thanda, Essie tries to help him, but ends up getting kidnapped. She's taken to Dane's planet, Candara, where his people plan to trade her to the king in exchange for the release of Candaran prisoners, one of whom is Dane's father. Essie is a valuable find-she's actually a young princess who escaped the clutches of the stepmother who tried to kill her when she was nine. In this interplanetary retelling of Snow White, debut author Lewis reveals a talent for worldbuilding and creating complex, memorable characters. As Essie owns up to her past and takes control of her fate, SF and fairytale fans alike will enjoy watching her beat the odds and find romance in the process. Ages 14 up. PW"
Gr 7 Up Essie is the only female living in mining settlement Forty-Two and earns her keep by "stitching" or repairing junk-tech for the local miners. She is an unwelcome presence, despite her much-needed expertise, and leads a precarious and solitary existence. When a shuttle crashes, leaving a stranger named Dane without a functional ship, Essie begrudgingly agrees to help him. It turns out that Dane is on a search for Princess Snow, the royal heir who went missing eight years ago. Once he realizes that Essie is indeed the princess, he kidnaps her, intending to use her as a bargaining chip in a prisoner swap. Forced to divulge secrets that she has long guarded, Essie convinces Dane that she is no friend of the court and the two join forces. This is a superb sci-fi retelling of "Snow White." Lewis does a marvelous job of slowly revealing the backstory of Essie's royal childhood, her incestuous relationship with the king, and the mystery surrounding her real mother. Inventive nods to the original fairy tale, such as the seven droids Essie built and the death scene of the evil queen, are expertly done. This has strong appeal for sci-fi and fantasy lovers and fans of Marissa Meyer's "Lunar Chronicles" (Feiwel & Friends). Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI SLJ"
4Q 4P J S Essie would be very happy to continue her bare but hidden existence troubleshooting tech glitches with her seven drones on the frozen mining planet of Thanda. Earning extra cash with the occasional cage fight and improving the efficiency and safety of the dangerous mine operation keep her mind off the life she fled eight years ago-a life of royalty on Windsong. Her equilibrium up-ends when Essie rescues crash-landed Dane, a rebel fighter from Candara, Windsong's enemy twin-planet. Dane is seeking leverage to gain the release of his imprisoned father and when he discovers Essie's identity, he is pretty sure he has found it. His plot to kidnap her quickly becomes more complicated when their journey is waylaid and Essie's tech skills make her valuable to the ruthless government on the desert planet of Garam. Essie discovers that the war raged by her father, Mathias, king of Windsong, and his murderous wife, Olivia, has kept this corner of the universe in upheaval since her flight, and her escape might be considered the cause. Beyond the basic set up, Lewis's retelling of the classic tale re-imagines Snow White as a self-determined, whip-smart young woman. Lewis has found the sweet spot of building a plot with reasonable intrigue and complication without getting bogged down in detail. Her knowledge of math and science-both real and futuristic conjecture-is liberally sprinkled throughout the story. Essie, aka Princess Snow, has built up walls of personal self-preservation eight years thick and Lewis realistically depicts her readjustment to a world that offers and expects empathy. This includes the romantic development between Essie and Dane, which Lewis appropriately puts on a slow boil on the back burner. Two of Essie's drones, Dimwit and Cusser, are characters Lewis might have done well to develop further, along with the world building. Overall, Stitching Snow is a satisfying read for those who appreciate strong female protagonists embedded in plots of intrigue.-Lauri J. Vaughan. Stitching Snow is an interesting spin on the story of Snow White, placing the fairy tale in a technologically advanced setting. The romantic part of the novel is somewhat predictable, though not overdone; the narrative is not buried under Essie's changing feelings about Dane. As a whole, Stitching Snow is an engaging read, combining a dystopian future world with a familiar story set in the past. 4Q, 4P.-Allison Wang, Teen Reviewer. VOYA"
For eight years, the frozen tundras of the planet Thanda have been Essie's home, and the seventeen-year-old girl is mostly content to tinker with her seven drones and serve as impromptu mechanic for the local mines. Her desire to help trumps her usual self-preservation instincts when a mysterious boy, Dane, crashes his spaceship near her home, and soon she finds herself kidnapped and brought to Candara, Dane's home planet. There Essie admits to being Princess Snow, whom everyone thought was kidnapped years ago, but who really ran away from King Matthias, her father and rapist, and Queen Olivia, her stepmother and attempted murderer. Now Dane and his planet's ruling council plan to use Essie to end Matthias' reign of terror-whether she's a willing participant or not. Several of the Snow White motifs are satisfyingly turned on their head here, and fans of Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, BCCB 2/12, etc.) will feel right at home with the combination of sci-fi and fairy tale elements. The pacing is lightning quick, with our planet-hopping heroes moving from one obstacle to the next, and while that may at first cause readers a bit of whiplash, it also allows the story to wrap up in one installment. Lewis doesn't sacrifice world-building for plot, either, deftly incorporating details about both the interplanetary conflicts and Essie's history as the action moves swiftly along. Essie's got the wit and strength to compete with any YA heroine, but it's her conflicted feelings toward her father and her willingness to finally save herself that make her memorable. This will certainly ease the wait for readers anxious for Meyer's next installment. KQG BCCB"
Essie has lived much of her life on the desolate planet of Thanda. She spends her time stitching up her trusted androids and fighting the miners who control the cold, barren terrain. Essie has many secrets; Dane, a young stranger, wants Essie's secrets. With Dane's help, Essie decides that she must take control of her life, and not be afraid of her true identity. Lewis's novel is an interesting take on the Snow White fairytale. Those familiar with the tale will instantly recognize the parallels; however, Lewis has truly made this story her own. The science fiction elements add an extra layer. Some elements of the world building are glossed over, and the reader is left with more questions than answers. Those students who gravitate towards science fiction/fantasy will not be disappointed. Jonatha Basye, Senior Library Technician, Bateman Library, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia Recommended Library Media Connection"
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Thanda is a cold mining planet, as inhospitable and dreary as they come. Yet, seventeen-year-old Essie calls it home, breaking the monotony by throttling opponents in cage fights and upgrading her seven drones, programmed to make the miners’ jobs easier and safer. Her routine is interrupted by a shuttle crashing near her settlement, bringing Dane, a treasure hunter, into her life. Despite his unassuming façade, Essie soon learns that the treasure he’s searching for isn’t something made of gold: it’s her. She’s really Princess Snowflake, heir to the throne of Windsong, but she fled that life after her stepmother attempted to have her killed, prompting a war that has left many dead. She finds herself thrust back into the life she tried to leave, staying one step ahead of her wicked stepmother and her corrupt father as she devises a plan to bring an end to the conflict…but this time, she isn’t just a helpless princess – she’s part of the rebellion.
The first wonderful thing about this novel is that it’s just a novel. The story is fully explored and neatly contained in one book. The author doesn’t try to drag it out into a series and instead focuses on just telling the story as it needs to be told. It’s very refreshing to read a story that isn’t being painfully drawn out to sell more books. It’s paced well; there are a couple slow spots (particularly in the beginning), but for the most part, the story clips along at a good pace, proving difficult to put down. Lewis doesn’t bog the plot down with tons of description or repetitive inner monologues; her writing keeps the characters always moving forward, giving enough detail without stopping to story to give too much. There’s also a welcome lack of filler. Every scene is important in some way, whether it be plot progression and character development. It’s simply a joy to read!
The book is essentially Snow White in space. This works for me; I love pretty much anything that’s set in space! I read a lot of sci-fi and thought the setting was pretty well done. It needs to be kept in mind that, at the end of the day, this isn’t a hard sci-fi novel, so the futuristic setting isn’t going to be the focus of the book. It’s not speculative and isn’t meant to raise questions about how this or that was developed…it’s meant to be enjoyed as part of the story. Some have complained about Lewis’s world-building, but I think she did a fine job of laying her world out for us without bombarding us with unnecessary information. The planets are distinct, the technology is portrayed well, and heck, there were even different accents. I felt like I understood the world well enough to enjoy the story and have it make sense, and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s what matters.
As I mentioned earlier, “Stitching Snow” avoids a lot of the bothersome clichés of YA literature. While Essie is an important individual set to inherit a kingdom, she isn’t some special snowflake (no pun intended) with a unique power who is destined to save the world from Evil with a capital E; she isn’t an orphan with mysterious origins; she isn’t the last of a mystical group; she isn’t vain and doesn’t put much thought into her physical appearance beyond trying to hide her genetically-engineered white hair; she doesn’t have self-esteem issues; she doesn’t automatically hate all other women on sight; the story actually acknowledges that there are more important things going on than winning the leading man’s love; and, to my great relief, there isn’t a scene where Essie gets to play “dress up” while admiring herself in the mirror and realizing for the first time that she’s attractive. Mad props to Lewis for giving the tired trends a wide berth! What we’re left with is a story the embodies the feel of Young Adult in that it’s very character driven with teenaged protagonists facing a challenge large than themselves without the same scenes seen in every other YA novel. That’s not to say it ignores every staple; some are still present, but Lewis utilizes them to weave (stitch?) a good story rather than using them as a crutch to support the plot.
So how is it as a fairy tale retelling? Well, as I’ve already said, this is my first foray into this specific genre, so I can’t speak to how well it stacks up against similar books. Looking at “Stitching Snow” on its own, I think it holds up pretty well. My general issue with retellings, and why I ultimately avoid them, is that I’d assume they’d be a tad predictable, but that isn’t a problem here. Make no mistake, the Snow White story is definitely the backbone of “Stitching Snow,” and there are nods to the source material throughout the novel: an evil stepmother, seven dwarfs/drones that work in a mine, the huntsman, and the poison apple. However, this isn’t a straight retelling and Lewis puts enough of a spin on things to keep the reader guessing. A lot happens to Essie and Essie manages to put a lot of things in motion; there were times where I had no idea where the story was going (and I’m usually pretty good a predicting where things will end up), only to end up pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The bones of the fairy tale are there, as is the skeletal support of a typical YA novel, but the meat, the unique details and twists, are what sets “Stitching Snow” apart in my eyes.
Alright, so let’s move on to romance. I make it no secret that I strongly dislike romance and often find Young Adult romance in particular to be especially painful. So, with that in mind, I was shocked when I not only didn’t mind the relationship in “Stitching Snow”…I actually liked it. Lewis has opted to omit perhaps the most tired, overused, frustrating cliché of YA novels: the love triangle. There aren’t two boys vying for Essie’s attention, which means that Essie doesn’t spend half of the book repeatedly agonizing over which guy she’ll choose. There’s just one romantic interest in her life: Dane. Furthermore, the relationship actually builds relatively realistically. There’s no “insta-love” present here and while Essie acknowledges that she finds Dane attractive the first time she sees him, she doesn’t immediately fall for him. Their relationship builds slowly over the course of several months as they work together and learn to trust and ultimately appreciate one another. About halfway through the novel, Dane kisses Essie and Essie begins to think about him more – at this point, I figured this was where the novel would begin to rapidly slide downhill, the protagonist more interested in her boyfriend than her mission. I was pleasantly surprised that both Essie and Dane were able to push their feelings aside to focus on what needed to be done. What’s more, they actually make a good team, bringing out the best in one another and supporting each other through to the end. They don’t really kiss or get big into the romance until the very end, at which point I was actually rooting for them to end up together. I’m not sure how I feel about them getting married so young, but they’re a good pair with a realistic relationship. I have my complaints about Dane (more on that in a minute), but I was very pleased to see that Lewis chose to develop Essie’s relationship with one boy slowly rather than trying to force tension with a love triangle.
Essie is a wonderful protagonist. She’s independent and tough, more than capable of surviving on her own. 8 years on the run means she has to look out for herself and can’t rely on anyone for help…and I found her character to be very believable in that aspect. I can buy that the Essie we see at the start of the book has been able to fend for herself for so long; she has the drive and abilities needed. I appreciate that she’s a strong female lead without the author feeling the need to constantly shove in our faces how strong and independent and feminist she is. Essie’s actions speak for themselves and, more importantly, the author lets them speak for themselves. As I mentioned earlier, Essie isn’t uniquely destined to save the world with some special power; she also isn’t a damsel to be pitied. She’s a girl whose circumstances have cultivated a useful set of skills that she relies on to get by. Her biggest love is programming. With so many YA protagonists who are interested either in the arts (singing, acting, dancing, drawing, etc.) or proving how badass they are (fighting, spying, assassinating, etc.), it’s refreshing to have a main character whose talents lie in computers, puzzles, and coding. I enjoyed the little joke behind why Essie refers to her coding as “stitching,” and was pleased that her aptitude for programming played such a large role in the story. There’s a sense of practicality in everything she does and she doesn’t just impulsively jump on the first idea that enters her head; she actually thinks things through and looks at different options before making a decision. She’s very likeable and is a character you want to succeed because you root for her, not because you pity her.
Additionally, Essie also makes a good narrator. I’ve had a bit of a bone to pick with first person point of view novels I’ve read in recent years: the narrator never seems to have an interesting voice or bias. I tend to think that if first person is going to be used, there should be a good reason for doing so, namely that the narrator have a unique or particularly interesting perspective on things. Essie is a great choice for a narrator because she actually has a voice of her own. She doesn’t just give a flat telling of events; her account is peppered with details and descriptions that are very, well, her. So it doesn’t sound like a bland third-person view of events, it sounds like someone actually recounting a story, adding their own language, thoughts, and biases. Also, Lewis is good at telling us how Essie feels or what she’s struggling with emotionally without miring the story in internal drama. It makes sense that Essie would tell this story; she needs to tell it because we need to understand her own emotions to fully understand why things happened as they did. The story could only come from Essie to have the impact that it does.
Finally, she actually grows as a character. In the beginning of the book, she’s selfish and abrasive, pushing others away and putting her own desires and goals above everything and everyone else. Though her reasons for doing this are understandable, I’d go as far as to say that she’s a bit unlikable at the start. Now, I love protagonists that start off as being unlikable because it means there’s a lot of opportunity for them to develop. The key to this is the author realizing that the character’s flaws are actually flaws and treating them as things the character needs to improve. I’ve found that many books (YA in particular) that feature sarcastic, caustic, and otherwise abrasive main characters are written by authors that think their leading lady’s smarmy volatility makes the character edgy, “strong”, and unique, and therefore the characters never seem to grow beyond being prickly protags. Lewis, however, does seem to recognize that while being selfish and purposely pushing others away has its uses, it’s ultimately a flaw that Essie needs to overcome if she’s going to achieve what she must achieve. Better yet, Essie doesn’t just change overnight; we get to see her opinions transition, her views grow into ideas beyond herself. We’re in her head when she has to decide whether she’ll return to her old life of safe solitude or put herself in danger for the benefit of others, and it’s not an easy decision to make. So, at the end, her transformation from an abrasive hermit to a benevolent ruler is completely believable because we went through her process of changing right along with her. She doesn’t lose her edge; she’s just as snappy at the novel’s conclusion as she is at the beginning, she’s just learned to curb her attitude and think things through letting her sarcasm loose. It also probably helps that Essie’s character isn’t defined solely by her off-putting attitude – she actually has quite a bit to her.
My single complaint regarding Essie is the cage fighting. It’s the only thing about her that didn’t feel authentic to me. How the Hell is an average-sized seventeen-year-old girl continuously wiping the floor with miners who do physical labour every day to make their living? I would buy her having some self-defense skills; as the only girl at a mining settlement, she realistically needs them. I don’t buy her being quite as good as she is. It felt like an attempt to show that Essie isn’t just a computer nerd – look, she can kick ass, too! It seemed tacked on and underdeveloped. How did she get so good? Who trained her? She mentions having taken a beating when she started cage fighting, but has been undefeated for quite a while…how?
Dane is the main male character of the novel. Though he perhaps gets off on the wrong foot by abducting Essie from Thanda, he actually ends up being pretty likable. Some readers have complained that his kidnapping Essie is completely unforgivable, but I think his reasons are at least understandable…even Essie can’t really fault him once she learns of his father’s plight (and she isn’t blinded by infatuation when she comes to this conclusion). I mentioned earlier, though, that I had some issues with him. He has his own set of skills that enable him to fare just fine on his own and he’s an Exile like Essie’s mother, meaning he can Transition, or get into peoples’ thoughts. After learning about her past, he’s sympathetic to Essie and genuinely wants to help her, putting her well-being above his own wants. Also, like Essie, he’s willing to sacrifice his life for the cause. This all makes him very likable…but not terribly interesting. Everything he does seems to revolve around Essie, which while sometimes sweet, doesn’t make him stand out as a character on his own. A lot of the Young Adult novels I’ve read feature a bland protagonist being paired with intriguing heartthrob. “Stitching Snow,” interestingly enough, has the opposite problem. Essie is a fascinating main character, but Dane is disappointingly flat. I also rather disliked that he was just as good, if not often better, at fighting and programming as Essie; it took away from her accomplishments when he’s just as good as she is when he already has his own talents.
If we’re going to be honest, the real stars of the book are the drones. There are seven of them, and they’re absolutely adorable. Of course, the foul-mouthed Cusser and bumbling Dimwit easily stand out since we see more of them, but all of the droids are cute in their own way. I found myself grinning from ear to ear when Dane had them all brought to the palace for Essie at the end. I read a lot of sci-fi, “Star Wars” novels in particular; droids and drones are very familiar to me, and I’ve never been super fond of them. Essie’s seven drones managed to melt my heart with their antics.
As an aside, I also really liked Kip, the analog for the huntsman. We don’t see too much of him, but he seems like an interesting character. His background as a guard to Essie’s mother and later Olivia, his refusal to kill Essie when commanded and helping her escape, his connection with Dane, and his unwavering loyalty to Essie all make him pretty intriguing. It’s a shame he wasn’t present more often; he had a good dynamic going with the protagonists.
My biggest issue with “Stitching Snow” comes in the form of one of the antagonists. The book has two. The first is Olivia, Essie’s stepmother. I don’t have any problems with Olivia. While she doesn’t break any new ground as far as evil stepmothers are concerned, she was dastardly enough to be feared while covering it well enough to keep her deeds hidden, and I found her motivations (wanting Essie permanently out of the picture as an heir) believable enough. The second is King Matthias, Essie’s father. There’s no doubt that he’s an underhanded, corrupt ruler who thinks nothing of lying to and even harming his own subjects for personal gain. However, he’s also Essie’s father and, as such, she has warm memories of him – how he used to tuck her into bed, how he cried when he told her of her mother’s death, how anguished he was when she disappeared, and how happy he seemed when she returned. This created a fascinating conundrum for Essie: is her father a truly bad person? I love moral dilemmas like this; situations that make the main character really think about what they’re going to do…and if their choice is the right one. Then Lewis quickly threw in the rape/incest plot. I hate it when rape is used to prove that a bad guy really is nasty enough to justify killing; it’s a lazy use of a very serious topic. So I was annoyed to see it show up in a book that was otherwise very satisfying. There is no foreshadowing to this. Whenever Essie thinks of why she left Windsong, her reason is always Olivia. If she was being molested, wouldn’t that come up at some point as a good reason to flee? Just a chapter or so before this revelation, Essie had just been thinking that Matthias could sometimes be a good father when Olivia wasn’t around. Seems a bit odd that she’d think that when, in the next chapter, he’s attempting to assault her and she’s having flashbacks to the many times he’s done it before. It felt like the author suddenly realized that she’d made Matthias a little too grey, so she threw in one of the worst crimes he could commit to convince us that he’s really worth killing. Had there been some foreshadowing, it might have been different, but it comes out of nowhere and serves no purpose besides shock, making the story more “dark,” and clearing Essie’s conscience. When everything else had been going so well, this was a huge letdown.
“Stitching Snow” has a lot going for it. It gives a unique spin on a classic fairy tale, weaves a tight, contained story, avoids many of the overused YA tropes, and features a romance that is not only realistic, but doesn’t involve a love triangle. Essie is an intriguing protagonist and narrator with a skillset not often seen, and her seven drones are just full of personality. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a Young Adult fairy tale retelling. If it weren’t for the random incest plot twist at the end, I’d give it Five Stars since it had almost everything I’ve wanted to see in a YA novel. However, I have to knock a star off for the sloppy inclusion of rape: Four Stars
Now, many people have compared this book to The Lunar Chronicles. Although I LOVE The Lunar Chronicles, Stitching Snow is told more like a traditional space opera story. There is no Earth. The characters reside in a galaxy far, far away. The romance is there, but minimal. Names of machine parts and planets and people are tossed about without much explanation and, yet, if they were explained it would feel as though something was taken away from the story. You know, like space operas (which I happen to love). The Lunar Chronicles is soft science fiction with a much stronger romantic subplot.
The main character, Essie, is exactly the kind of female you'd find in the far reaches of the galaxy: strong, no-nonsense, and independent. Her mind is brilliant and she finds pleasure in keeping her hands busy writing code, fixing machines, or tinkering with her pets..ahem drones. Yep, she has seven drones who work the mines of Thanda -- Cusser and Dimwit my favorite of the bunch. The world building is fantastic. I loved learning about the different environments and social customs of each planet. But, most of all, I was delighted by how the author wove the familiar threads of Snow White beautifully throughout this galactic fairytale re-telling.
This Princess is called Essie and she's been hiding out for eight years on a backwater mining planet coding, fixing droids and cage fighting. (And the fighting thing is one of those little details that bothered me- she beats up miners and seems completely capable but still later in the book the 'love interest' has to train her to fight. Okay...)
I liked the characters don't get me wrong and I liked the story but for me a lot of it fell apart in the details. It's a little all of the place. Turns out the war on Essie's home planet is pretty much being staged. Her late mother was a spy. Essie has the ability to jump into other people's minds and 'tip' them.
Why? Why does everybody have to have a superpower these days? Can't she just be a hidden Princess?
It's also implied but kind of glossed over (in my opinion) that she was abused by her father the King. So beware of that it might be a trigger for some people.
But like I said I liked it and I loved the way they portrayed the seven dwarves as Essie's adorable highly updated mining drones. It's just better if you don't think to much or expect to much of the story itself.
Now for the good and the bad. This is a sci fi retelling of Snow White. The heroine Essie is a runaway princess who has been hiding on a backwater mining planet of Thanda until a stranger crashes onto her planet pulling her into a war she had long ago escaped.
This makes for an enjoyable read and I did like Essie very much and the author did a genius job of writing her drones into the story. They were the highlight of the book.
There were some downsides to the story as well. I felt that the past history with Essie's father was a thrown in point. Like the author hadn't decided how to end the story and just put that plot line in because a better idea hadn't been thought of. I didn't like it, but I also don't think that books should always be all happy and wonderful either. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and they become stronger for it and Essie is an example of that. Overall, this is an enjoyable book and I am looking forward to the next one in the series.