October 14, 2014
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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 love, love good fairy tale retellings and Stitching Snow is a very, very good fairy tale retelling. Essie is living on the planet of Thanda where the idea of 'catching your death' from the cold isn't so far fetched. Living alone, she has figured out how to live with the men of the mining town she calls home and how to be valuable - by coding and maintaining her drones. It isn't an elaborate life she has carved out for herself but it suits her. And keeps her secret.
The crash-landing of a ship from another planet pulls Essie from her routine. After agreeing to help the ship's young, injured pilot with repairs, she discovers there may be more to his arrival tat he's letting on. The real reason could put both Essie and her secret in danger - even as it promises to free others.
When I started Stitching Snow, I had forgotten that first line of the official synopsis and I like where that put me for beginning the story. Essie is a great character and I love how we met her. She is a very strong character, both mentally and physically. Yet, when we hear her thoughts and what she says to herself, she has just the right amount of doubt, of vulnerability.We know, pretty quickly, that she is keeping a secret from those on Thanda, but not what that secret is.
She stands out in the mining town not only because she is a teenage girl surrounded by the miners, men, but because of the great character RC Lewis has created. Essie's stitching involves coding drones to work in the mines, repairing them when something goes wonky. She can work with and around both the software and the hardware. It is a great foundation for a character and as the story progresses and we see more of who Essie is, discover her secret, learn more of her past and see her deal with the present and future, she is an even more enjoyable character.
Essie is not the only one I love in Stitching Snow. When we're introduced to Dane, he is an okay character. As it isn't clear yet how much of a role he will play in the story, I liked that his character was not immediately super intriguing. As Essie helps to repair his ship and they have more conversations, he becomes much more appealing. It is clear he's keeping some secrets of his own.
With what he brings out in Essie and the questions he causes her to ask herself, they are two characters that are a great joy to read about. Later on, when we begin to learn some of Dane's story, I love his character even more.
This Snow White tale does not have seven dwarfs, it has seven drones. And I love them. They have the descriptive names that describe them (or as Essie sees them). Dimwit is clearly the standout drone character. Lewis has created an incredibly endearing, malfunctioning little drone.
Without being too spoilery, the latte plot of Stitching Snow is just great. From the very fully imagined world to the roles the different characters play even to the characters' pasts and their relationships with other, new (but old) characters. It is a complex tale of nicely done relationships, politics, science fiction and space. The mission the characters must undertake is one with real depth, consequences and danger. I loved Stitching Snow for its plot and its characters.
(Though, I do wish the cover had been a bit different. While it does fit with the tale, the filigree heart feels almost sweet for the story. It is a more complex and well developed story than the cover suggested to me.)
review copy received from publisher via NetGalley, thank you.