Series: Princess #1
Published by DAW on January 6, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours 29 minutes
What would happen if an author went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for his plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with "Charlie's Angels?" Hines delivers a new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. Original.
You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after..." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella - whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.
But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia - otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty - comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.
That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.
Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?
My TBR List review is a day late, but better late than never, right? Since this is one of the books Michelle (Because Reading) put on my list, insisting I HAD to read it, I’ve given her a chance to step in and give her two cents 😉
So… The main reason I’m a day late? I had such a hard time getting into The Stepsisters Scheme! In the end, I enjoyed the book and I do think I’ll eventually continue it, but I’ll have to make sure I’m in the right mood.
Getting into that mood might be difficult, since one of my biggest complaints about The Stepsisters Scheme was my inability to place it in a genre. Not that every book needs to fit into a tidy pile – but when it comes to age level (middle grade, young adult, or adult) I like to know where I stand. In the end, I’m calling The Stepsisters Scheme a YA, because it wasn’t quite adult and some of it’s themes were too adult for middle grade. But sometimes the characters behavior and dialogue felt SO middle grade. This was jarring, when pages later they would be blushing about some sexual innuendo.
I would have placed it more as upper teen or adult but more 16+. It never gave me a middle grade read however I love middle grade so I might not have noticed.
Sexual innuendo runs pretty consistently in The Stepsisters Scheme, actually. And with them all being adults, it could technically be adult. See my frustration? It’a hard to get in the right reading place when a book does that to me.
My only other complaint is one typical of any fantasy when it’s the first book in the series, it dragged for a while at the beginning and the had several more slow points throughout. But I do think this was because of some really good world building and, in general, if I have to sacrifice pace for a good world build I’ll accept it. It’s certainly better than a fast pace that makes no sense because the world build is weak.
His world build was my favorite part since I can picture the entire layout in my head.
And I do think I COULD LOVE this world. First off, it’s a reinvention of fairytale with the blending into one world. So far we’ve only got Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and I don’t know if the series will ever encompass any more. They live in a world of magic where humans live alongside fairies, though fairies also have their own world. And this is fae fairies, not Tinkerbell. Well there are pixies, but there’s also dwarves, trolls, and all the while fairy Kingdom. Yay!
Finally, I DO LOVE the transformation Jim Hines has given our fairytale princesses. The stories we know are in the book as just that, stories. Popular inventions twisting what really happened. And the most important missing factor? These are not damsels in distress in need of rescuing.
I loved the kingdom and the fairytale part of this, but even more so that he used the ORIGINAL stories for the princesses background not the disney version. This was the book that made me want to know more about the original writing. Plus got me started on my love of twisting fairytales.
They are kick ass! I think my favorite transformation is Sleeping Beauty’s story – she’s Talia – it’s pretty wow! But I’ll let you read it to see for yourself.
I probably would have never picked this book up on my own, so thanks to Michelle for putting it in my TBR List and thanks to y’all for voting for it. Even if it wasn’t love at first sight, it has potential 🙂