*I was given this book, and its sequel, for participating in the CBR5 if I read and wrote a review for it. *
I was pretty excited to get this book because, A. I love re-written fairytales and B. I love free things. It should have been right up my alley, (Cinderella revisited! War and Magic! Fairies and Witches!) But sadly, it wasn’t quite up to my expectations. I hate to give poor book reviews, but this book was quite the struggle to get through. I’m going to try really hard not to be too spoilery, for those that are still planning to read this book, but warning you now, I’m not really great at keeping spoilers to myself.
It begins after Cinderella has been married to the prince for a few years. She writes in her diary about how unhappy she has become with her life and her distance from the prince. In hopes to get some change, she begs her Fairy Godmother to come save her from her own fairytale life. Her Godmother is unable to help her, due to reasons unknown, so she tries to take matters into her own hands. The queen wants her pregnant in hopes of continuing the family line, but Cinderella is having difficulties in conceiving, so they ship her off to France looking for a way of fixing the problem. There Cinderella starts causing herself more trouble while waiting for her Fairy Godmother to finally reach her.
The whole story is written in diary form from her point of view because she craves to be a writer and a lot of the plot depends on Cinderella’s love of the pen. Although she just wants adventure and a new life, frankly, I found Cinderella to be kind of whiney. She bitches about living in luxury and wants to go to France. Okay I get that. Women in this time didn’t have a whole lot of options and she wants some freedom. That’s understandable. But then she gets to France and quickly it is also too dull for her. Parties all the time? Poetry, music, operas? Ugh, just the worst. I hate to say it but Cindy, your writing isn’t great and your attitude isn’t much better. Since I didn’t like Cinderella very much, I didn’t care to read her diary very much. In fact, most of the characters didn’t have many redeeming qualities. That was my main complaint with this story. Sometimes characters can be unlikeable, but they can still be someone you root for, someone you want to see turn out alright. For Cinderella, this was not the case. Plus Cinderella’s lack of though, or I guess naivety, drove me nuts. (Really Cinderella? You keep seeing silver foxes all over the place, which just happens to coincided with a story you tell at the beginning of the book and yet you are never suspicious about it? Ever? At all?!)
Things did get better though, and I don’t want to completely trash the novel. Although I found the first half hard to get through, the second half was much more engaging. The twist, although slightly expected, got me through the end of the book. I finally did want to know what would happen or at least how it would be tied up (which I still kind of had some issues with, since it seemed rushed and possibly all in her head? Or something? I’m not sure, the physical realm/writing/Fey realm got a bit confusing near the end.) Trying not to spoil too much, but another character writes in her diary and I wish he had written the whole thing. Although clearly insane, and kind of a dick, he was also the most interesting and engaging person in the novel. I’m hoping he shows up in the sequel, because just reading all about Cindy is gonna drag me down.
Due to the writing, I would consider this more for teenagers. It features mostly implied sex, nothing too tantalizing for an actual adult, and the writing is a bit simplistic. (Not implying all teenagers are simplistic, but ya know what I’m saying.) In the end the message is a pretty good one, about believing and loving yourself instead of looking for validation in other people. I just wish that the message could have been explored more subtly and with a tad bit more character development.