Published by: Self Published
Format: Kindle ebook
Genre: Fairytale Retelling Novella
Reviewed by: Judith
What’s in store for you: Cinderella retold as you’d never expect it – there are courtesans and chilling dark magic, gifts of fire and curses couched as lucky charms, hexes and voodoo dolls and a tale so artfully weaved you’ll be left saying, WAIT! It’s only a novella?! I need more. So much MOOOOORE.
Plot: Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost.
Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm.
Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.
Review: I’ll be honest: fairytale retellings are generally a big turnoff for me. I see “so and so’s tale reimagined” and instantly bypass the book no matter the author or how much I like his/her writing. I don’t know why exactly…maybe I just never really enjoyed fairy tales as a kid (I did, ok? I’m not heartless!) or maybe I felt like they had nothing new to offer. Regardless, when Sherry Thomas, one of my all time favorite romance writers, mentioned Bettie Sharpe and the fantastic writing in her Cinderella story, Ember, I vowed to give it a shot no matter what.
THANK GOD I DID. This novella is gorgeous! It’s Cinderella (plus a few other fairy tales thrown in to the mix) as you never could have imagined. The protagonist is the eponymous Ember, a witch with all the magic of Fire. She controls flames and fire, soot and ash. She is a fiercely protective heroine and one willing to take her destiny into her own hands. See, in this reimagining, Prince Charming is gifted (cursed?) with an enchantment that makes all who see him, adore him and Ember wants none of that. She makes a bargain with the elements and is able to withstand his charms but the price she pays is a dark and painful one. One that will last all her life.
The Cinderella story follows Ember from the arrival of her step mother and step sisters through the loss of her father and her becoming a true cinder girl living among ashes. With a HUGE mind bending difference from all other Cinderella retellings you’ve chanced upon before. Every integral moment in the Cinderella story is here but explained so cunningly and magically that it reads like a constant revelation. It’s a gorgeously crafted read that you will fly through.
I loved everything about this: it was sexy and charming and beautifully written. It includes all the elements of the Cinderella story with none of the hangups. Ember is saved by no one but herself and by doing so, allows herself to have a glorious future.
What you may not like: the promise of yet another fairytale retelling may be a turn off (but it’s not!); dark magic; hot sex.
What you will definitely love: a unique fairytale retelling; scorching hot sex scenes; a strong heroine who makes her own choices and saves herself; a hero who needs saving from himself.