And the contest is CLOSED. The winner is...forbiddenhero! Even if you missed the giveaway, I hope you enjoy the review below.
Once upon a time, there was a servant who went by the name of Cinderella. She had two wicked step sisters and a stepmother who liked to put her to an unfair amount of work, and her only friends were the kind birds and mice. In response to her distress, a fairy godmother granted Cinderella the magical assistance to trade her life for a much better one - a life beside a prince head over heels for her.
And, as thus, Cinderella lived happily ever after...right?
Whether you're familiar with the happier Disney version, the darker Brother Grimms version, or perhaps other versions entirely, the story still begs the question most fairy tale endings do. Was the ever after really happily? Author Michelle Davidson Argyle tackles this question in Cinders.
Cinderella, or princess Christine, isn't as content with her new life as she assumed she'd be. What with her fairy godmother imprisoned, Cinderella can't help worrying - not just about whether the godmother will live, but how far the godmother's magic stretches. How much of the prince's love is true, if any of it is true at all? How much of her new life is true, if any of it is true at all? Beside those concerns about her present, thoughts of her past still lingers. She can't totally drop old habits, like feeling comfortable in the kitchen.
More importantly, the memory of a guy from her past - a magical guy both real and unreal, a guy whose kiss had a different power than that of the prince's - won't let go. And Cinderella can't let go either. She has to wonder herself how far she will go, how much she is willing to sacrifice, to see him again.
A person's life is really just a series of story arcs. Will this arc of Cinderella's life end just as happily ever after as her previous one?
Argyle is a master at using the power of language to show a range of emotions. Sentences, like the following, said a lot even though it was short: 'She would look like porcelain for her prince tonight. He liked her made up like that.' When I peaked at the book months ago, that sentence stayed in my mind. I loved how she explored the magical aspects of the tale that weren't explored at all originally, like the godmother's power, and expanded on the magical world. What I loved the most, by far, was how morally ambiguous Argyle made Cinderella.
I can honestly admit that, at certain points of the story, I didn't like Cinderella. At some points, I questioned her motives and didn't truly understand how much depth went into her decisions...BUT that's not a bad thing. In this story, Cinderella was more human, more realistic, than I've ever read her. It's not bad that I didn't think she was the most awesome heroine ever. Not all heroines should and can be the most awesome heroines ever. I'm okay with that.
The only thing that concerned me was the story with Cinderella's previous mystery lover. I really wanted to know more about him, more about their past relationship. How'd they find each other? How exactly does his culture work? Questions like that consistently arose in my mind, and I was a tad bit disappointed that I didn't find out. I'm aware that this may have been purposeful. He is characterized as an elusive man.
As it is, though, I enjoyed the novella overall. Michelle Argyle is a talented author readers should definitely keep an eye on!
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