By R.C. Lewis
Available now from Disney-Hyperion
It will be of little surprise to anyone that I jumped on the chance to read a sci-fi retelling of Snow White. STITCHING SNOW opens on the remote mining planet of Thanda, where young Essie makes her living as a mechanic and cage fighter. It's definitely not the traditional Snow White beginning.
I really enjoyed getting to see the rhythm of Essie's life. She's clever, tough, and resilient. She's managed to keep herself safe (and profitable) in a place with few women, much less single women. Then, a spaceship crashes and brings Dane into her life. I'm of mixed feelings about Dane. Essie did need someone to remind her that there was a world beyond Thanda, and I found their relationship built believably, and even included some natural setbacks. But the opening goes to such lengths to establish Essie as a tough, worthy opponent when fighting. Yet, of course, Dane is infinitely better than her and she has to learn from him.
After Essie repairs Dane's ship, events lead them to travel to the planets of the galaxy. I was fascinated by the different economies, politics, and ways of life, but felt that there wasn't enough time to devote to each. It definitely meant that the climax was rushed and mostly devoid of emotional turmoil. There was one particularly nasty late-game reveal that had little impact because there were no previous signs of it. I liked Essie and Dane, but by the end they felt flat, just going through the predictable motions.
I think STITCHING SNOW had a fascinating setup and a good sense of humor. Essie's droids, which take the place of the dwarves, are real highlights. But somewhere everything takes a turn for the generic. This is a find tale for fairytale fans, but nothing truly exciting. It is a good choice for readers waiting for the next book in the Lunar Chronicles.