(WARNING- In this week’s Which Wednesday, you will find: plenty of casual intergalactic bickering between Sarah and Faith. If you are not a fan, I would steer clear from those parts. Get ready for a journey through space. Blog space. It’s going to get brutal. But I assure you, it’s all friendly things.)
Fairy-tale retellings are all the rage: from Cinderella to Beauty and the Beast, every reader has (literally) read them all. The original ‘clichés’, the only thing that save these retellings are the originality of the characters and the world-building. As easy as it sounds, it’s harder than you think… how do you keep a reader’s interest if they already know the plot? In this week’s duo edition of Which Wednesday, we’re going to be comparing Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis. When we first read about these two books, we couldn’t NOT compare them: they’re so similar, they’re almost twins… but not quite. Soon, you’ll find out why.
ROUND 1: SYNOPSIS
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.
SNOW WHITE RETELLING
S: I have something to confess… I’m a sucker for fairy-tale retellings. They are like my kryptonite – I can’t resist trying them even if I know they suck. I know I’ve said this a million times already, but the first time I saw Cinder’s cover and synopsis, I fell in love. Like UBER-MEGA-I-CAN’T-HANDLE-ME love.
F: Another galaxy, another princess, another boy. Here’s the pattern in (many) book summaries: this is the conflict, this is the heroine, BUT suddenly boy intersects girl and everything goes haywire. Since I had already read Cinder, I was both intrigued and mildly bored. But, like Sarah, I do love a good retelling (and she did recommend the book to me) so I said, why not? I’d love to see what an author could do with another Cinder-type book!
S: Mini note: Like Faith said… I was equally interested in Stitching Snow.
Faith’s PICK: I loved the intro to Cinder’s summary and the word choice is on point. It’s just written so well. Faith approves.
Sarah’s PICK: I liked both of them shrugs (Waiiiit… isn’t Faith supposed to like Stitching Snow? 😉 ) (F: I don’t think there is a predetermined “who likes which book”, alright? I’m just the traitorous spokesperson of Stitching Snow in this round. Whoops.)
ROUND 2: STYLE OF WRITING
S: I liked Cinder’s style as it was more like a retelling. I don’t know how to exactly describe it, but I like the more impersonal look into their lives. From what I remember of Stitching Snow, we knew more of her thoughts (the plus side was that we got more of her sassiness XD)
F: Stitching Snow’s writing style made the story progress in an easy-to-read, fast paced adventure. (S: Hm Faith… need help with them big words? XD) (F: No comment. [Inserts lyrics for Rude by Magic! and an intergalactic glare from Stitching Snow’s sun] Actually, I am feeling a bit sour from that hit. But even though I’m acidic, at least I’m not basic- so maybe you should scale back your pH 14 a bit(ter).) Pun count for the last sentence: around 2-3.
I knew I liked this book and its fast paced plot because I read it in one sitting. When I say one sitting, I mean 7 hours on a Saturday literally from 7pm to 2am. (Let’s cross our fingers and hope that my mom does not accidentally stumble across that piece of information.) (S: You mean, most people don’t read books in one sitting?) I really enjoyed the way you could understand the character and see the galaxy the way she sees it. It’s something that we didn’t get in Cinder!
Sarah’s PICK: CINDERRRRRRRRRRRRR
Faith’s PICK: I’m going with Stitching My Heart because Sarah was brutally rude in this round. If you catch her telling you it’s “brutally honest”, then that’s because she is an absolutely wild and untamed creature. My choice for this round is Stitching Snow.
S: I apologize for my savage nature. (F: I apologize on her behalf for her lack of dignity.) *mock serious faces*
ROUND 3: CHARACTERS
S: I know that it’s not a good thing when you can literally switch the main characters and not feel any difference. Essie’s slightly sassier… but c’mon. Mechanics, girls, fairy tales… The only thing is that Cinder is slightly more 3D, because she does have self-esteem problems. #metalleg #metalhand #67percentmetallikemymathmark
F: Hm… In Stitching Snow, I liked how you could really identify the progression of Dane’s character. It went all over the emotion spectrum from hmm to ugh to ahhh to… whatever you may be feeling at the end. (Says Faith in a conscious effort to not spoil anything while trying to describe her feelings in the most efficient way possible.) All the other characters were… alright, since there wasn’t that much time to develop them. In this case, it didn’t bother me toooooo much though.
S: According to Faith, Kai was annoying (F: Kai justly did the things that he did but, I just wanted the story to progress soooo I was a bit annoyed at some parts.), but tbh, I NEED A KAI. Especially First-Book Kai. He’s literally the perfect guy. Cute, honest, down to earth (F: Of course he’s down to Earth. What else would he be? Down to Luna?) and rich. (Let’s be real here, I wouldn’t say no to marrying a rich hot guy. Not that it would ever happen). I like the way he was so … chill? Like, I can imagine a day out with him. Cinder and Kai’s interactions were so adorable and awkward that it killed me.
But Faith also brings up a good point…
F: Cinder (the book) brings in racial inclusion. So here’s the thing: Kai is Asian. “WAIT, WHAT?” This book made me realize how much more we need characters of all backgrounds and how much we don’t realize it. We need more Asians! As well as people from all types of backgrounds! 🙂
S: Like right now I’m imagining/casting my favourite Kpop stars as Kai, so I’m in heaven. (F: Oh stars, here she goes again. Sarah, it’s not about the looks. It’s about the books. Don’t be that shallow end of the pool; you know, sometimes my words are so deep that you’d probably drown on my side of the lane. Just check out my first poem titled, “I Have a Bunny”. I didn’t actually have a bunny, and I never will. True story.) Ahem. Anyways, yay for diversity, cuz Cinder was the first YA book I read that had POC without making their colour the plot. Ya know?
Faith’s PICK: Gotta pass the torch to Cinder, here. In Marissa Meyer’s books, I find that she makes a really conscious effort to include everyone from everywhere. The characters a three dimensional too, and they’re funny… so points here!
Sarah’s PICK: MWAHAHA I WINNNNNNNNN. Ahem. Cinder.
ROUND 4: SETTING/WORLD BUILDING
S: Once again, I liked both settings. They were both equally fleshed out and described. I’d say Cinder has a more developed universe, but then again, I’ve read the four other books. I liked the different styles of description, so I really think both of them took the cake.
F: Yes, Cinder was more developed but since it’s spread across a couple of books, the first one was still a bit slow-going in terms of action. Though, you can immediately tell that it’s really well thought out and imagination really did happen to make the story seem realistic. If you’ve read the Lunar Chronicles, you have to read all of them to get the full scoop! As a standalone, Stitching Snow’s world had to be quickly sewn together (Yeeep, I really did go there) and although I would’ve liked to see more of it, I feel that it still worked.
Sarah’s PICK: (F: Heh, I know what SHE picks at home… her nos- okay, I get that I’m still in kindergarten. We can all relax now. There IS dedication in our friendship though… because if she was a booger, I’d pick her first!! S: Thanks. I think?) My choice: BOTH OF THEM!
Faith’s PICK: I choose both books as well! (S: COPY-CAT. Faith never has good ideas and needs to follow my lead 😉 )(F: Actually, I should be the lead. Since LEAD’s symbol on the periodic table is Pb and we already determined on our last award post that Sarah’s the JELLY sooo… I’m sorry, but I think you’re just jelly because the LEAD has been taken by me. 🙂 Also, I broke my no-more-chemistry-jokes promise. Chemistry is just so pun-able!)
ROUND 5: ORIGINALITY/INTEREST
S: CINDER CAME OUT FIRST 😄
In all seriousness though, Stitching Snow’s author has addressed claims of copying. And basically, Cinder got published first, while both were being written, so it’s an annoying coincidence. Either way, both were really well done and had distinct tones.
F: In this round, I’m also siding with Cinder! Like Sarah said, it was published earlier but even the way it was written felt more authentically original. Although Cinder did have its clichés, Stitching Snow was almost like a retelling of Cinder. It’s a retelling of a retelling. #retellingception #kindofmindblownbutnotreally
SPOILER COMPARISON– Here’s why many people, including myself, thought that they were too similar: Both of these books feature mechanic heroines who are secretly princesses with mind control abilities and come from a planet of people with the same abilities. They both start off relatively lonely with only a robot/robots as their sole friend(s) and sidekick. The guy they end up with is obviously the prince- of another planet. The queens are their supposedly “motherly figures” but are plotting to kill the princesses and the queens’ evil mastermind manipulating skills far surpass everyone else’s. Finally, both the princesses take a spaceship from the planet they’re currently on to save their home planet.
Sarah: 5-3 , Cinder wins
Faith: 4-2, CInder wins
Stitching Snow: 4 out of 5 stars
Cinder: 5 out of 5 stars
Faith’s PICK: I CHOOSE YOU PIKACHU!!!
This Which Wednesday, naturally, has to go to Cinder. As aforementioned, the imagination in the world building is FANTASTICAL. I did love Stitching Snow and its plot… right after reading it, I rated it a 5! But writing-wise, Cinder just takes it all. You can tell that we are very much right on the fence, especially with Sarah. I loved both of them in slightly different ways. So, in the end, they both deserve a read!
Sarah’s PICK: EXCUSE ME NO I’M NOT INDECI- Oh wait. Yup. I love both these books individually. I also love the Lunar Chronicles, but that’s because Stitching Snow’s second book sucked. But y’all should read both. RIGHT NOW. PLEASE. So I don’t feel bad about liking both equally. (Note: Never hire Faith as a defense lawyer cuz she’ll just go for the other side. RIP Stitching Snow).