katie gilgour's Reviews > Robbergirl

Robbergirl by S.T. Gibson
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it was amazing

Note: I received a copy of Robbergirl from the author in exchange for a book review.

I'm sort of in love with fairy tales.

This is not a surprise to most of you. After all, I'm a Disney fangirl, and I have more fairy tale retellings on my bookshelf and to-read list than I can count. 

Despite my love for once-upon-a-times and happy endings, I am not that familiar with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen." The only adaptation I know of is Disney's Frozen (which, like most Disney films, is very loosely based on the original story). Robbergirl has given me a new love and respect for "The Snow Queen," and certainly set the bar high for any future retellings I may read. 

Robbergirl tells the story of the Helvig, a girl raised on thieving, and Gerda, an alleged witch who has one goal: kill the Snow Queen. Helvig is at simultaneously skeptical and fascinated by Gerda's claims, and essentially holds her hostage in the robbers' encampment. "We'll present her properly before the Robber King as a spoil," Helvig says, "And he can decide how to best employ her."

Luckily for Helvig, The Robber King lets the witch stay. 

Eventually, the two girls become good friends--and, like all good fairy tales, romance ensues. Helvig starts to open up about another girl who broke her heart. Gerda admits that The Snow Queen kidnapped her brother Kai. There is a tenderness and honesty to their relationship that I seldom find in fairy tale retellings; S.T. Gibson is not afraid to be raw and angry, but those scenes do not distract from aching softness or giddy butterflies. 

What I enjoyed most about Robbergirl is that at its heart, it is more than a romance: it is a love story. There is love between Helvig and Gerda, of course, but there is also the love of a father and daughter; the love between friends; and the love between siblings. There is a selfless kind of love that shines through every chapter. 

Additionally, the fact that this is an LGBTQIA+ story can not be understated. I have only read one sapphic fairy tale retelling (Ash by Malinda Lo), and Robbergirl made me hungry for more. It's a happy story, which is not often one queer readers get the chance to hear. Helvig's attraction to women causes her some anxiety, but overall, it is cast in a positive and affirming light. Similarly, Gerda openly and confidently admits her attraction to women. It's refreshing to read an LGBTQIA+ book in which coming out or tragedy is not the backbone of the plot. Their love simply is, and it's a beautiful thing. 

If Gibson's Odd Spirits was like literary dark chocolate, Robbergirl is a hot mug of hot chocolate on a winter's night. It warmed me from head to toe, and I cannot wait for my next cup.  

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Reading Progress

April 8, 2019 – Started Reading
April 8, 2019 – Shelved
April 8, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 17, 2019 –
page 81
"This book is giving me witchy Christmas in the middle of April, and I’m not mad about it. 🖤❄️"
April 21, 2019 –
page 144
April 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

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