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This review was first posted at A Backwards Story on January 15, 2015.
I usually don't re-post after such a short span of time, but hey--it's FTF!
AND I'm interviewing the author today.
AND it's one of my favorite reviews that I've written so far this year.
AND I did a vlog because the cover is so gorgeous.
So...forgive me? ^.~
Today, I'm interviewing STITCHING SNOW Author R.C. Lewis.
Essie is hiding a dark, deadly secret. She's been hiding on Thanda for years, ingraining herself in the local community. She's great at fixing mechanical things, and earns extra shares through cage fighting. Her droids are top notch, and she's made Mining Settlement Forty-Two top notch due to her inventions. When a lone pilot from Garam named Dane crashes onto Thanda, Essie saves him and helps rehabilitate his plane, and he repays her by kidnapping her and drawing her back into the very war she was hiding from to begin with. Now revealed as the long-lost Princess Snow, can Essie allow her family atrocities to continue, or is she willing to finally stand up for what's right?
There is so much to say about STITCHING SNOW! For one thing, Essie is totally kick-ass. She's wicked smart, too. She's a programmer, a mechanic, an engineer...she's great at math and science, and we need more girls like her paving the way in literature so that more real-life girls get interested in such fields as a career. It was also fun to see the guys in Mining Settlement Forty-Two accept her abilities. They called her work "stitching" to make it seem more girly, but they appreciated her hard work and came to her first when situations in the mines needed fixing. Essie is a great fighter, too, tough and scrappy, and is able to make a great life for herself on Thanda despite all of its dangers. She has a dark, twisted past that she wants to forget more than anything, especially since her family has destroyed so much. I really loved her character development; Essie was one of the strongest elements of her novel.
I also enjoyed all of the nods to the fairy tale. It's completely futuristic and innovative, from genetic engineering to poison necklaces to seven droids...to the lesser-known iron shoes! There's a revelation that makes readers understand why the evil queen hates Snow so much, a creepy, twisted reason, and it works so well and took my breath away. Even the droids themselves made for interesting characters. Cusser and Dimwit were the two prominently featured droids, but Clank, clunk, Ticktock, Whirligig, and Zippy also played critical parts when it came to Essie's daily life.
Clank could do the welding, and Clunk could fabricate components with absolute precision. Replacement parts, recoding... Whirligig had backups of all the drones' programs. Ticktock knew better than I did how all the processors, power supplies, and relays fit together. Zippy would salvage every possible bit from the damaged originals.
(pg. 186, US hardcover edition)
I also appreciated the fact that, while there was romance, that romance took a backseat to the action and everything going on around Essie and Dane and was more of a slowburn. Essie is wary around Dane for a long time, and rightly so. Dane, however, also has a tragic past, and as his character opens up, so does Essie's (And the reader's!) appreciation of him. The balance was right for this story, and not overly dramatic or focused away from the world. It's also easier to buy the sci-fi elements because the solar system is not ours, and everything is vastly different. In some ways, it reminded me of the uniqueness in the world of Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly. There's enough grit in STITCHING SNOW for a thrilling adventure, and it's hard to put the book down because readers will want to know what happens to the characters and how the climax will play out. Plus, happy day--no cliffhanger! This is a one-shot, though I wouldn't mind seeing a companion novel and returning to the world in the future!
Fairy Tale Fortnight 2015 Update!
This fall, R.C. Lewis is coming out with a companion novel entitled SPINNING STARLIGHT and it sounds AMAZING. It's a SCI-FI retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans!
See down below for a summary if you're as intrigued as I am!