Stitching Snow was an extremely enjoyable retelling of Snow White with some other elements tossed into it. It gave me the impression of a Star Wars-esque YA space epic and reminded me a little of Marissa Meyer's Cinder (of which I adored).
Essie is a mechanic who has her skills in computer tech and engineering. I always have a great respect for authors who create young girls with these skills. Living on the mining world of Thanda, Essie's goal is to survive life and blend in; she cannot draw attention to herself.
At least that was the plan until Dane crash-lands on her turf and changes her life. At first he seemed like a dimwitted nice guy, just hanging around while she helped him fix his ship. But we soon learn, after Dane kidnaps Essie, that she isn't just some random common girl with a knack for tech.
Essie is Princess Snow from the planet Windsong; she disappeared eight years ago and King Mathias (who turns out to be quite the rat bastard) has been searching for her ever since. Her disappearance sparked the opportunity for Mathias to go to war with the Exiles (or Candarans) of whom he fears because they have the ability to "body-hop" into others' conscious minds. A group of Candarans living in the their embassy in Windsong at the time were imprisoned because of Princess Snow's disappearance--it seems that they were blamed for kidnapping the princess.
Now Dane is determined to bring Essie back to Windsong as a trade to set the imprisoned Candarans free. But he soon learns that Essie's disappearance was tied to darker reasons than he had suspected. Apparently, eight years ago when Essie ran away from her home, Queen Olivia had ordered the young princess's death in secret.
There are a lot of plot twists in this book that range from the "Snow White" fairy tale of the Evil Queen wanting Snow White dead for superficial reasons; to the potential for war between planets in the system; to an even higher and less forgiving conspiracy within the Windsong kingdom that King Mathias has created to keep himself in power.
There is no lacking of action in the story progression, making it easy to just keep right on reading until the penultimate conclusion. Fortunately, the book was planned quite well and nothing seemed out of control or out of nowhere.
There were a few plot lines that seemed to fizzle out, however, and I was left with open-ended "choose your own conclusions" to those plot lines. Not that they mattered much since they weren't the main conflict... but sometimes you like to know.
The book is very Essie-centric, which is fine with me since I like a good, strong, independent heroine who saves the world and saves the day. But because she was such a powerful individual on her own, as a character, as a person, and as the main character, she overshadowed everyone else. Sure, she had her flaws and she had to develop through them; Dane was a stronger fighter than she was and needed to help hone her combat skills.
But the point is that Essie went through so much character development that every other character (excepting her drones) seemed to pale in comparison.
Dane was a great guy and an amazing love interest (after you get past the part about him kidnapping Essie and forgive him for that because he had his reasons and was not well informed of all situations). I feel like the romance on his side developed a little quickly, but I'll take it because he doesn't push, and he doesn't angst, and he doesn't mope. He's right there beside Essie through her entire ordeal. Which is great. But he was kind of boring for it.
There were all sorts of potential for great characters in the rest of Stitching Snow as well. Kip could have been fleshed out more, just as Laisa, Brand, Theo, or even the King and the Queen. But they were very typical, standard hero story background character types.
This book was basically "All About Essie" and all the character development and personality quotas were used to create an amazing heroine with strengths, weaknesses and character.
The only other characters that even stood a chance next to Essie were her drones: Dimwit, Cusser, Clunk, Clank, Whirligig, Ticktock, and Zippy. They were her "Seven Dwarves" and they each had their own upgraded personalities that made them stand out and unforgettable and freakin' adorable! I even stand that Dimwit and Cusser probably had more personality than Dane, Kip, and the whole Candaran council combined.
The drones were Essie's best friends and just seemed to "be there" when she needed them to be. There were FEELS to be had between Essie and her drones. It was pretty great!
Overall: Stitching Snow might not have been the best retelling out there, but it was unique and very well created. The tech and the worlds and the cultures were pretty awesome with tons of room for potential. I would have loved to learn more about Garam and Candara; I would have loved to meet more of the Windsong citizens and soliders. I would have loved to travel Thandan and see the rest of the mining communities, the Ascetics, the more prosperous, livable cities...
I would also love to have a Dimwit of my own. And a Cusser. I've grown to love those drones more than the actual human beings of the Stitching Snow world.