The Stepsisters Scheme | My TBR List Shotgun Review

June 28, 2015 Life of a Blogger, Reviews 21


My TBR List is a meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading where we get some help picking out what to read next. We sit for hours looking through our TBR lists wondering when we will ever get to that one book we were dying to read when we added it 3 months ago or maybe even a year. So each month we pick 3 books from our TBRs and let everyone else vote on which one to read. We announce the book the second week and by the end of the month, we review it!

The Stepsisters Scheme | My TBR List Shotgun ReviewThe Stepsisters Scheme by Jim C. Hines
Series: Princess #1
Published by DAW on January 6, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 344
Length: 11 hours 29 minutes
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

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?

Shotgun Review

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 πŸ˜‰

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.

MichelleMichelle Says:
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.

MichelleMichelle Says:
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.

MichelleMichelle Says:
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 πŸ™‚

3.5 stars pretty good

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About Jim C. Hines

Jim C. Hines’ latest book is UNBOUND, the third in his modern-day fantasy series about a magic-wielding librarian, a dryad, a secret society founded by Johannes Gutenberg, a flaming spider, and an enchanted convertible. He’s also the author of the PRINCESS series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous GOBLIN QUEST trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in BLOOD OF HEROES. His short fiction has appeared in more than 50 magazines and anthologies. Jim lives in Michigan with his wife and two children. He’s currently hard at work on REVISIONARY, the fourth (and final?) book in the MAGIC EX LIBRIS series.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

21 Responses to “The Stepsisters Scheme | My TBR List Shotgun Review”

  1. Terri M., the Director

    IMO, of the classic Disney princesses, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip are the most forward thinking couple. Phillip refuses to marry his betrothed and would run off with Briar Rose! He’s the first named Prince in the Disney canon. There’s also some fun facts about the creation of the movie that I won’t bore you with. πŸ™‚ Plus Disney’s Sleeping Beauty has a blue dress and blue is my favorite color!
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…A Note from the Director: A Blogging Break…the end is near!My Profile

    • Berls

      They’ve been hit and miss for me, but I give them more of a chance than I used to because of how much I love The Lunar Chronicles. But if you don’t like fairytale retelling in general, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one. Despite being good in the end, I think you have to want that fairytale element to push through some of the slow bits.

  2. Lanie

    I wanna read this one now πŸ˜€ I love the cover it looks so fun, like it’d be something if I was in a book store or walking by a shelf, I’d just have to grab. Love the fact their adults but still argue and kinda act younger because lets face it, we all still act like kids every once in awhile, specially around siblings. Great review though, total bummer you had issue trying to nail this one down, maybe the next will be more clear.
    Lanie recently posted…Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Be PositiveMy Profile

    • Berls

      I think it will be because I know what to expect and the world is better established, so that won’t need so much development. Ya know, I hadn’t thought about it like that, but you’re right, it’s kinda neat that they’re adults who are able to relax and be in touch with their younger selves! Makes it bug me less now!

  3. Lark

    I’m so glad you liked this one! I agree with several of your points, though I had the book pegged pretty solidly as adult despite the dialog. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but I intend to eventually.

    But seriously – you NEED to read Libriomancer and its sequels. The Stepsister Scheme was good. Libriomancer was REALLY good!
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    • Berls

      It’s funny, I think I’m the only one who felt like the age placeent was all over the place – so I guess I’m just weird on that LOL. I just went and marked Libriomancer as a must read then, since I did enjoy this one πŸ™‚

    • Berls

      I have no idea if you’d like it more or less than me LOL! It definitely should go on your maybe list at least πŸ™‚

    • Berls

      So it seems I’m the only one who got the childish dialogue feel… *shrugs* I guess you’ll have to see for yourself on that one. The pacing was rough at points – but it was worth it for the solid world build IF the next books have a better pace. It’s tricky to get a good world build without slowing down in the first book I’ve found so I try not to be too harsh about it.

    • Berls

      REally? Several of our local libraries have it! Did you look at Maybe one near you has it and you can get a card? I have 7 library cards lol.

      • A Voracious Reader

        I have cards from 2 counties, the one I live in and the one closest to me. The other systems are too far away to be a feasible option. I’m surprised though. Both of my systems are fairly large. When one doesn’t have something the other usually does. The fiscal year is ending today, so I think I’ll suggest a purchase. πŸ™‚
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        • Berls

          Oh there you go! I’ve never suggested a purchase, but that’s because it’s so rare that they don’t have what I want at one of the many libraries I have cards to.

  4. kayk597

    Hi. I loved the story once I got into it. Like you, I thought it started slow, but I really didn’t get a middle grade feeling. Definitely YA and older. Liked it so much that I now have the next 3 books on my TBR shelf just waiting for me.

    Happy reading!

    • Berls

      I think that might be just me, since Michelle didn’t get that feel either. It definitely wasn’t the only feel I got, but there were moments that felt really childish to me. *shrug* I could have just been in the wrong mood at those points too. I do plan to continue regardless πŸ™‚

    • Berls

      I need to do that then – wasn’t sure if there would be others. I actually haven’t ever been big on Sleeping Beauty, but I just love how he reinvented her in Talia!

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