I’ve been mulling on how to review Girls Made of Snow and Glass for a week.
There have been a lot of efforts over the years to revision Snow White. Add dwarves, subtract dwarves. Make Snow White evil. Give Regina The Queen backstory. The Nightmares and Fairytales comic version has the Queen literally steal Snow’s heart, and Snow becomes a monster who comes to steal it back (then she frolics off into the forest with the animals). Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories portrays the Queen as a tragic figure, a princess who was never saved. Manipulated by the Enchantress to do her will, Evly uses her ruthlessness and determination to try to save the love of her life (and screw anyone who gets in her way). She ends up trapped herself, and Snow ends up sharing her stepmother’s story to the other queens, because there’s nothing else that can be done for her, and understanding is all Snow can give to Evly now.
In Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Melissa Bashardoust does what some fairytale revisionists have tried before: focus on the relationship between Snow and The Queen. However, rather than adding a little development of their relationship to an overall love story about being rescued by a prince, Bashardoust sets the love between Snow (Here, Lynet) and The Queen (Mina) center stage. Following in importance are the relationships with their fathers, and Lynet’s relationship with her love interest, Nadia.
A Wrinkle in Time is a gloriously bright, fun quest in which three children go looking for two of their father and end up becoming part of the unending fight against real evil. While many reviews have claimed that this movie is incomprehensible, not faithful to the book, or filled with unrelatable, unlikable characters, upon actually watching this film (as someone who was a huge fan of the books as a child), I found none of these things to be true. In fact, this movie is a wonderful, entertaining adaptation that had me crying at several points.
I sympathized with and adored Meg, I laughed with Calvin, and I feared for Charles Wallace. Mr. Murray’s relationship with his wife is deep and touching, and we can see the depth of their love for each other and for their children. This movie is a beautiful offering to young women, particularly young black women, as well as the smart young men who get erased from media too often in favor of stereotypically aggressive forms of masculinity. I walked out of the theatre feeling energized and moved, and hoping, (intensely) that the studio gets on board with making A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet to follow up.
Spoilers below the cut!
Juliet Takes a Breath
by Gabby Rivera
I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time. The idea of a coming-of-age story for a Puerto Rican babydyke going on a quest to discover herself is pretty amazing. It’s also something that seems like a no-brainer, given how many coming out stories exist. But what sets Juliet Takes a Breath apart from a lot of those stories is that JTaB doesn’t follow the general beats of that story. It isn’t focused on Juliet finding her true love (although she does get to have some romance on the side of her exploration). It’s about her finding how to be herself and about finding her community.
In the near future, humankind has finally found life in the universe! And we are TERRIFIED. In response, the government creates a dome called SafeSky to protect us from extraterrestrial life and have used this fear as an excuse to create a fascist, controlled society. As you do. Or as humans do, anyway. Shock Doctrine engage! Power up the giant gun on the moon!
Pictured: Fledgling by a bottle of Poison Girl, with dark purple flowers.
My love for Octavia Butler is deep and all consuming. I’m closing in on reading her entire oeuvre as soon as I nail down the Patternmaster series. She has stories about gene trading aliens, pregnant men, the destruction of America under a demagogic leader, among other thought experiments. She does with sci fi what should be done with sci fi: Explore social phenomenon and test the boundaries of human social expectations.
Fledgling (2005) is no different in this regard. It isn’t my favorite book of hers by any means (that award goes to Parable of the Talents), but it’s just so darn interesting that I’ve returned to it many times. The story follows a young vampire named Shori, who wakes in agonizing pain, nearly burned to death, and blinded, in a cave. As she heals and makes her way out into the world, she has to solve the murder of her family and try to navigate a society she has no memory of in order to get justice or her people.
Fledgling was supposed to be Butler’s “fun” vampire novel, and it was the book she wrote just before she died. (Too soon!) In spite of that, the novel continues to explore the concept of power in hierarchical societies, as well as biological interdependence through a completely original imagining of how vampires and their humans may interact. While some of this novel’s prose isn’t as polished as Butler’s other novels, the conceptual development is more than worth the read.
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