Science fiction and fantasy
by Anita Valle
The first step in Cinderella's mission is to get to the ball and seduce Prince Edgar so she can marry him. Her sisters, utterly dismissive of her because of her status as a servant, are rude and take her for granted whilst she is tasked with making them gowns in time for the ball she hasn't been allowed to go to. So Cinderella races against time to finish her tasks, which her stepmother keeps piling on her, and then to complete her own secret plans for making a big entrance.
Valle's Cinderella is no passive princess, and she has plans in motion at every stage. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this novella is the moral ambiguity of nearly every character, which skews towards the wicked end of the spectrum in many cases. Even Cinderella's fairy godmother is a plain-speaking, pipe-smoking woman with a shadowy past. Cinderella calls her Godnutter, and it's apt.
The story is as pleasantly symmetrical as Cinderella's white magic-enhanced features, and as it progresses it hints at other fairytales that could follow on from this story. There's a great twist to nicely round off the ending, so readers aren't left with a cliffhanger.
This is a brutal story full of horrible people and acts, but the kind of characters who have their own logical reasons for their bad behaviour and who manage to be charming and magnetic even when they're misbehaving. It left me wanting to read the sequels.
15th January 2019
If you like this, try:As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
A young woman is held captive by a beast in a cursed castle, whilst trying to untangle what that curse has to do with her family.
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman
A young woman rebels against her family whilst trying to resist the will of the fae lord. The first novel in the Split Worlds series.
Review © Ros Jackson
Source: own copy
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