Friday, June 12, 2015

The Ugly Stepsister~Aya Ling | Review

Title: The Ugly Stepsister
Author: Aya Ling
Genre: Fantasy; Fairy Tale Retellings
Length: 452 Pages
Release: June 2015
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Kat accidentally destroys a Cinderella picture book and is transported into the story. In order to get home, she has to complete the story. All the way to the Happily Ever After. But Kat isn't Cinderella. She's an ugly stepsister.

Kat is transported into the story very early on in this novel, which was nice. There was just enough story about her to understand her character before she was thrown into a completely new world and forced to face insane obstacles. And one of the things I enjoyed most about this story was that it deviated from the usual tellings. Cinderella didn't match what you might expect, the fairy god mother is missing, the prince doesn't like attention or balls. And their are goblin kings who hand out curses to girls who tear up picture books. It was quite refreshing. 

The society that Kat is thrown into is very reminiscent of those in Jane Austen novels with some elements of Dickens and Gaskell thrown in. There are even some names borrowed directly from Austen. The mothers are trying to marry of their daughters to the richest men (similar to Mrs Bennet at times), but there's also some social issues with child labor and cotton mills that reminded me of Dickens and Gaskell (North and South in particular).

And Kat loves literature and pop culture, so there are tons of references to novels and movies woven throughout the story (I think I recognized them all). It kept the story connected to the modern world, which I think would appeal to a lot of readers. 

There was obviously some romance. The prince was sweet, gorgeous, and all around a good guy. The scenes with him and Kat were cute and often funny. Elle (Cinderella) was sweet, but quiet, which worked because Kat was the heroine in this story. And while this was a fairy tale retelling the romance never went overboard and the ending was very satisfactory. 

My only issue with this novel was really some of the pacing, particularly near the beginning. There was too much description. This lessened throughout the novel, but it kind of slowed down the story for a while. Kat was also a little too fixated on looks for me, but again, this was something that she kind of came to terms with in a way. Overall I was very impressed and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.    

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