Author: R.C. Lewis
Genre: fantasy, sci-fi
Published: Expected October 14, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5
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.
This book is a sci-fi retelling of a popular fairy tale, involving a hidden princess exiled to another planet to save her from her murderous step-mother, where she works as a mechanic alongside her bumbling droid sidekick until a prince turns her life upside-down and convinces her to join the fight against the wicked queen.
Did I describe Cinder or Stitching Snow?
It’s true, Stitching Snow is derivative. There are superficial differences: Essie works mostly with computer programs instead of mechanics, there are seven droids, she knows she’s a princess, unlike Cinder, but the basic plot is there. They even both have the same power to control others’ minds. That’s more than coincidence.
Still, I like Essie. On Thandra she works hard to build a life for herself after being dealt a really shit hand. She’s cautious, but there’s still compassion. Her interactions with the droids are pretty sweet. I like that she taught herself to fight and used men’s expectations of her to win money. Unfortunately, I never really liked her and Dane together. I felt like he undermined her, especially with the fighting. As the book progressed, especially as she took on the princess role, there was a lot of inequity and fighting over who protects whom. It doesn’t help that he started their relationship by lying, and worse.
I wish I knew Dane the person. His people love him, but I didn’t get a sense of why. He can rewire droids, fight like a beast, and pilot any space ship, but where did he learn that? All I really know about him is that he loves his father enough to lead a coup against the most powerful planet in the system, kidnapping and lying as he goes. That seems at odds with the guy who loves Dimwit and little kids. And yet I’m supposed to invest in the romance.
The plot is a pretty good update of Snow White. The main elements are all present, but with the changes to the romance, and the slow reveal, I actually managed to forget that Essie was Snow for the first part of the story. I thought that was pretty impressive, considering. The locations are planets instead of forests, which ended up feeling less than organic. Our Snow leaves Hoth, stopping in Tatooine for upgraded technology, before traveling to Dantooine to meet with the rebels, and ending up in Coruscant to face the emperor. Sorry, wrong sci-fi again. Whatever they’re called, the planet hopping felt abrupt and kept resetting the plot.
Speaking of the king, I really, really could have done without a child sexual assault/incest plot. I don’t think a child who’s faced attempted murder, been chased from her home, lived alone in the wilderness with a bunch of drunk miners, and had to become a cage fighter to survive needs another reason not to get close to people. It’s a no. Especially after Essie had to deal with two attempted assaults in the first hundred pages. Find a better way to put your heroine in danger.
It’s obviously not a perfect book, but it is a fun one. For all my complaints, I enjoyed Essie’s journey. I prefer the first half to the second, but it’s not a book I put down. Dane wasn’t bad, just underdeveloped. It’s not a book I’d reread, but for other fairy tale fans, I’d suggest giving it a try.