I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Published by Hyperion on October 14th, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo America
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.
In her enthralling debut, R.C. Lewis weaves the tale of a princess on the run from painful secrets . . . and a poisonous queen. With the galaxy's future-and her own-in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.
I’ll admit that I started Stitching Snow with some trepidation – most of my friends that had read it had given it 3 stars max. But lo and behold, in a strange twist of fate, I’m a positive black sheep, because I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. It was creative, fun, sci-fi-tastic, and a well-executed stand alone debut novel.
The first thing that got me on the “this-book-is-awesome” bus was our main character, Essie. I hadn’t read the book’s premise in a while, so the exact nature of her identity was somewhat of a mystery to me – and that worked really well to keep me intrigued. The book starts off that she’s in a cage fight with miner guys, which she just does every once in a while to score some extra cash. Um, that’s so bad ass and awesome. She’s also a tech wiz, with great hacking and engineering skills – the latter of which she uses to build/modify seven more or less autonomous drones (which, if you didn’t get, would be the dwarves). The drones are so cute, guys. They each have their own personalities, and Dimwit is absolutely adorable and super fun to tease. And it was just so sci-fi and awesome.
Essie is a bit dry and sarcastic at times, which I can definitely appreciate, and she’s keeping quite a few secrets, so she’s majorly suspicious of others. She doesn’t really let people get close to her – emotionally and physically – which almost reaches compulsive levels but makes total sense when you later understand her backstory. I just felt her character was really well constructed. Though she’s a fighter, she’s not the strongest, and she works hard for what she can achieve. And though she keeps a brave face, she has emotional vulnerabilities because of her past that sometimes she just can’t hold back. It made her really real to me, and I sympathized with her a loooooot.
Cue the ever so cute Dane. How much do I love this ship? A heck of a lot. It was not instalove at all. In fact, they start off suspicious of each other, which grows to open disdain, but then… THEN… you know. Things happen. The romance wasn’t the main focus of the story at all – which I loved, because hello, they had a solar system to save – so the development maybe wasn’t as thorough as I would have wanted, but all the little moments between them stole my heart anyway. I mean, Essie naively wondering why she didn’t punch him after he kissed her? So many giggles. And Dane is so lovely and patient and protective – the “princess and her guard” vibe worked perfectly for me. The ending was particularly excellent. View Spoiler »How much do I freaking love that SHE is the one who kissed HIM to wake him up? PERFECTION. CRUSH THOSE GENDER ROLES YES YES YES. « Hide Spoiler OH MY FEELS. They are the sweetest, and for them alone I would almost want a sequel.
I also thought the world building was really cool. I loved that we got to see different planets with different climates and different cultures. I loved the sci-fi tech – THOSE FREAKING DRONES – and having such a techy main character. There was even a bit of magic, as well, in the “Transitioning” power that the Exiles hold, where they can transport themselves into the minds of others. It was a cool power, though a bit underdeveloped, but mostly functioned well to set up the societal issues. I loved the set up of this dystopian-esque regime. It was a bit confusing at first, because in the first half it was hard to understand what exactly was going on and how that government was operating, but it really came together in the end. There is some creepy dystopian shit going on here, and it was fantastic to read about. The ties to Snow White are subtle and wonderfully incorporated, showing respect for the source material, but creatively twisting it into an entirely new story.
I felt the plot was really strong as well. It had a great mix of action, mystery, courtly intrigue, adventure, and romance. I was thrilled with the action-packed fights, completely enthralled with the politics of this corrupt world, curious about the characters’ backstories, and greatly amused by the subtle humorous moments. Many people will want to compare this to The Lunar Chronicles and… I guess it’s fair, but I wouldn’t dare say that I find this worse than that incredible series. I think it’s on par, and it is significantly different. If you nitpick, I’m sure you can find plenty of parallels, but when the source material is the same, I don’t really feel like doing that. I felt it was really well executed, especially for a stand alone sci-fi novel with a definite dystopian angle. Though parts may have felt a bit rushed, everything tied up nicely and rather realistically as well.