Published by Disney Hyperion on October 14, 2014
Genres: fairy tale, science fiction
Pages: 338 pages
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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.
I have read a lot of fairytale retellings recently, many of them sci-fi, a lot of them doing very interesting things with the stories they are retelling. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but I was excited for a science fiction story that did something different with the Snow White tale. I will be honest: Stitching Snow was not the book for me.
Stitching Snow is about Essie, the princess of Windsong, the planet that rules the galaxy. She runs away to the mining planet of Thanda after her step-mother tries to kill her and lives there somewhat peacefully for eight years until a mysterious boy, Dane, crash lands near her home. Also, she is something called an Exile, an otherwise normal human with the genetic quirk that she can enter another person’s consciousness and know everything they’re thinking.
The premise was interesting enough, but I found I did not enjoy reading this book. It was all plot, and everything moved so quickly that there was no time to dwell on new information or characters. Revelations, like Essie’s true identity, the boy she meets, and one huge development near the end are not given any of the time or depth that they deserve. Everything was about hitting the next plot point, the next destination. Because of this everything felt surface-level to me. Really interesting things, like the different planets and the concept of body-hopping, are given very simplistic explanations because as soon as the ideas are introduced the plot has already moved on to the next thing.
I couldn’t connect with most of the characters either. Dane doesn’t have a whole lot to him. He’s given some motivation for why he does the things he does in the beginning, but for the most of the book is defined by his role as the love interest. The side characters are for the most part one dimensional, particularly the king and step-mother, who are just so evil that there isn’t much else to say about them. The only character I cared about at all was Essie. She was a refreshing twist on the Snow White character, strong and more than a little harsh from her time spent on Thanda. At the beginning of the story she is a kind person, but she doesn’t want to be. She has her selfish moments where she wants to stay out of what’s going on with the rest of the world and just stay on Thanda. The few subtle moments in the story are when the focus is on her love for her mother and her fears regarding intimacy and her Exile heritage. I liked when the story was about Essie’s personal growth, but there just wasn’t enough of it.
The world building wasn’t particularly detailed either. We go to four different planets over the course of this book, but I didn’t get that epic feel I like in interplanetary sci-fi. There just wasn’t enough to them for them to really stand out as entire planets in their own right. Thanda is cold and rugged and full of mining settlements. Garam is technologically advanced and self-serving. Candara is where the Exiles live, and has one of the only interesting details—there are so many fault lines on the planet that there are frequent earthquakes. Finally, there is Windsong, which is a lot like the Capital in The Hunger Games: lots of extravagant outfits and political machinations. I think a part of the problem is that there isn’t enough time to give this world the development it needs. It’s only 338 pages and is a standalone book. I think science fiction, particularly science fiction that is trying to show the cultures of four different planets, a large cast of characters, and a politic-heavy plot, needs to be much longer so everything can get the depth it really deserves.
This book wasn’t my favorite. There were a few good details, but overall I didn’t like the world-building and one-note supporting characters, and thought the fairytale aspect wasn’t particularly needed for the story being told.
What did you think of Stitching Snow?
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.