3 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work.
Another Cinderella rewrite. I hope those who love this fairy tale are reading a lot because between Cinder and Mechanica and Ash & Bramble, there are some good ones floating around.
This is a steampunk/ fantasy rewrite mashup. Ellie’s evil stepmother has enchanted her father into forgetting her and the whole world into ignoring her. She has been turned into a servant in her own house. When she runs into her childhood friend Benjamin, he actually recognizes her, and Ellie sees a potential ally in her ongoing fight to be free.
In this version of the tale, Ellie’s stepsister is not evil and I like it when writers do that to this fairy tale. I get the stepmother being jealous of the Cinderella character because of the father, but the stepsisters automatically being mean never really clicked with me. They have not known their stepfather for very long at all, so they have no reason to hate Cinderella for being his favourite for a while, since their mother favours them.
Instead of the fairy godmother stepping in to solve all the problems at the last minute, Cinderella and her friends are much more proactive. They have to go out and find a way to break the enchantment themselves. In the back is also a side story of Ben being an awesome steampunk inventor, so it is not just the Cinderella tale.There are also two prince characters, which adds some interesting tension to a part of the story that is usually straightforward.
This was a really quick read with not a ton of substance behind it. Other than the points mentioned, there was not a lot done with it that has not been done before. The setting is America in the late 19th century, there is annoying cat to match the Disney interpretation, and the author finds a clever way to mimic the godmother. It is a good rewrite, but not a spectacular reimagining.