Size Doesn’t Matter (209): Stitching Snow; Hunted

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (209): Stitching Snow; HuntedStitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 14, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Retelling, Romance, Fairy Tales
Pages: 328
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
AmazonThe Book Depository

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

It totally sucks when you two books that are very similar in concept come out at basically the same time, because the authors totally didn’t know that and it’s coincidental, but one of them is going to do less well because it’s not the other one. Poor Stitching Snow, the not Cinder. I’ve put off reading this ARC for so long because I worried it would be too similar to Cinder, and I wanted to give the book the best chance possible, and I’m probably not the only one on that. Stitching Snow‘s another clever sci-fi fairy tale retelling, only here it’s Snow White.

The blurb really totally gives the twist of this book away. Which, like, nbd really because we all know how fairy tales work, and most of us read Cinder, so it’s not like it’s surprising, but geez. I mean, “Princess Snow is missing,” and here we are hanging out with the mysterious Essie with the mysterious past. WHAT COULD IT BE, I WONDER, O SUBTLE BLURB WRITER????

Stitching Snow totally worked for me. Essie’s basically a boss programmer and mechanic, which is awesome, and she’s a cage-fighter, which is fucking intense tbh. She’s a badass and a hard worker. When a young hot love interest, Dane, crash lands nearby, she helps him get his ship running again, and there are feelings but then another totally not surprising twist, he was looking for the missing princess who is so totally not Essie at all nope absolutely not.

Dane and Essie have nice chemistry. They’re not a ship of ships (not like Cinder and Kai—don’t at me, they are the best), but the vibes here very much work for me, because hello hate to love and partnership and putting the world over their romancing and having feelings but being confused by those feelings and yes here for it yes. The plot runs a bit to the predictable space war stuff, but it works.

What I admired most about this book were the clever tweaks to the fairy tale. The fact that the heroine is actually a special Snowflake is the most hilariously meta thing, and poor Essie really getting saddled with that. Instead of dwarves, Essie has little robot companions, and they are the fucking cutest tbh. Total scene stealers. Spoilery clever twists I loved: View Spoiler ».

Unfortunately, this book suffered from not being The Lunar Chronicles, but it is very delightful. I’m totally keeping it and will likely reread someday. It’s Cinder meets Starflight, and that’s all good things.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (209): Stitching Snow; HuntedHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Retelling
Pages: 374
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book Depository

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My friends have all liked Hunted quite a lot, and it’s hard for me to say if my mild reaction to it is because that’s just how I feel or if it’s because it came to me at the wrong time. I was in a bit of a reading doldrums pretty much all the way through this book, churning through several books that I didn’t like and should have DNFed. That definitely didn’t help me, that’s for sure, because Hunted isn’t particularly fast-paced. I do think Hunted is a good book, but there were certain aspects of the craft that didn’t really work for me and I never felt particularly invested.

What I like the most about this Russian-set Beauty and the Beast retelling is that Yeva’s a heroine with a fuckton of agency. In fairy tales, especially ones like this that stick closer to the tales, female characters often fall into the classic archetypes and don’t have much control. In this retelling, it’s even more apparent that Yeva, the Beauty, has all the agency and that the Beast needs to be saved by her. Yeva’s also a huntress, and aside from A Court of Thorns and Roses, that’s the first time I’ve seen that twist on BatB. And, I mean, in Maas’ the hunting gets pretty much left behind when the heroine’s taken to the castle; here, the Beast values her hunting, and her love of hunting continues to be her main thing.

There are some powerful elements and shifts to the Beast’s arc too, but they’re spoilery so. View Spoiler »

Yeva’s POV makes up the actual chapters, and I like her POV. The book, because of it’s structure, doesn’t have a lot of diologue, and I think that’s part of why I didn’t really get deeply invested. I love watching characters interact and, for much of the novel, Yeva’s with no one but the Beast, who rarely speaks; mostly she tells him stories. I never felt any connection to Yeva’s family, and I never felt anything romantic between Yeva and the Beast. The most powerful relationship in the book was between Yeva and her dog Doe-Eyes, who is precious.

The Beast has a POV between most of the chapters, very short little snippets. I really, really hate these. They didn’t add anything at all to his characterization, and in fact tend to be really cheesy and obvious. Every damn time, these chapters threw me out of the book. If they’d been removed, I think I’d have finished this in half the time.

Hunted isn’t what I hoped it would be, but I respect what Spooner did with the tale itself quite a bit.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (209): Stitching Snow; Hunted”

  1. Oh I’m so glad you liked Stitching Snow!! I really liked it and feel it gets the short end of the stick for obvious reasons. It really does stand on its own as a clever retelling and now you have me wanting to read it again. I remember loving Essie and the droids and the banter. I still need to read Hunted- the cheesy snippets don’t sound great and I tend to really enjoy dialogue but the rest sounds awesome. Bahahah oh Beast.
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