Release Date: 15 May 2019
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings
Page Count: 352
“Who set us against each other, Ella? she wondered. Was it those men? Was it Maman? Or was it the whole heartless world?”
Jennifer Donnelly’s retelling of Cinderella has been a joy to read. The chapters are fairly short and keep you moving along, although I did find it a little slower in the first half I loved the second half of the book.
Leaning on the original Grimm’s tale, we start off in the story when the sisters are maiming their feet to fit in the slipper. We meet The Fates who have mapped out Isabelle’s (one of the sisters) life, and Chance who seeks to change her fate. An enemy is scouring the land with his army – a path that Chance accidentally set – and by changing Isabelle’s fate, he hopes to stop what he set into motion.
Ella doesn’t feature much in the book – we follow the story from a couple of viewpoints but predominantly Isabelle’s. In this tale, they weren’t always the mean stepsisters but turned towards it in their childhood. Isabelle and Octavia, the other sister, are both strong willed and do not fit into the box that a girl is expected to by the world around them – they’re described as not making good wives.
The fairy queen is nothing like the Disney version (I haven’t read Grimm’s version, I just know odd details). She’s dangerous and has a penchant for live rabbits. Without saying too much, she also has a hand, along with Chance, in helping Isabelle find her place in the world and accept who she is – rather than trying to conform and shut out everything that she is. This story is all about realising that beauty isn’t skin deep – it’s so much more – and that you shouldn’t change yourself because of what others say and perceive you should be.
“Go now, girl. Remake the world.”
I absolutely adored the story so much from when Isabelle starts putting it all together. I didn’t find the world was all too fleshed out, but considering its set in (I’d guestimate) 1600/1700s France I suppose it doesn’t need to be – there’s already an image you build up based on that knowledge and what you know Cinderella to be. It feels like there’s a second tale interwoven throughout between Chance and The Fates, its dark, and its enticing. I’d definitely recommend this book to others.
Thank you to Hot Key Books and NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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