It's been a looooooooong time since I've posted a book review on the blog. I've been reading. The GoodReads Challenge has done a decent job of keeping me motivated. I did get a little behind, but read a few novellas and short stories and that got me back on track even though I'm not sure if that should count. ;)
I might be fangirling a bit AKA my review.
I was worried this would be too short of a story because on Amazon it said only 62 pages, but this was a beautifully fleshed out retelling of the classic Cinderella. The twist from other retellings is in this one, Ella is transgender and that plays into the cruelty of the stepmother and step sisters. It's used as another tool to dehumanize the way Cinderella often is in other versions. Which I found a brilliant move.
I liked how Ella gets kicked out and gets a chance at a new life. Her step family basically goes mental on her and there's some real fear that left me very eager for her to escape. You get a very good sense of the fear of not knowing if someone is about to end your life (despite, in this case, knowing that won't happen because Cinderella stories always have happy endings and you can't do that if she dies!)
I do kinda wish with the tailor the word fae wouldn't have been thrown around so much. She's the fairy godmother here and it wasn't flat out in your face obvious that she was doing magic by waving a wand, but dropping the term fae kept it from being the subtle is it or isn't it that I thought would have add some nice mystery to who the tailor was.
The only other thing I want to note is in regards to Ella being transgender and how cruel her stepmother was. I wasn't sure if transphobia was a thing in this world. There were a few characters who learn Ella was born a boy and they pretty much roll with it, the princess kisses her while at the ball and everyone sees her as a woman, and there are females who dress more masculine. Which is a nice theme of acceptance. The only people who seem to have a problem is Ella's step family, so I was left unsure as to if the universe I was reading had issues faced in the real world or if Ella's step family's hatred was more a plot device. It didn't really take away from the story for me, just left me with a little confusion to world building, I guess.
Overall, it's a fantastic twist on Cinderella. The cover is beautiful too and the writing flows nicely (there were a few moments at the beginning it felt clunky to me, but once I got into the story, either I didn't notice or it smoothed out.) I honestly didn't want it to end.
Ella is transgender. She's known since she was young; being a woman just fit better. She was happier in skirts than trousers, but that was before her stepmother moved in. Eleanor can't stand her, and after Ella's father passes she's forced to revert to Cole, a lump of a son. She cooks, she cleans, and she tolerates being called the wrong name for the sake of a roof over her head. Where else can she go?
An opportunity to attend the royal ball transforms Ella's life. For the first time, strangers see a woman when she walks down the stairs. While Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn't blink an eye when Cinderella is the one who shows. The princess is elegant, bold, and everything Ella never knew she wanted. For a moment she glimpses a world that can accept her, and she holds on tight.
She should have known it wouldn't last. Dumped by her wicked stepmother on the farthest edge of the kingdom, Ella must find a way to let go of the princess and the beautiful life they shared for an hour. She'll never find her way back. But it's hard to forget the greatest night of her life when every rose she plants is a reminder.
Cinder Ella is available on Amazon, and you can add it to your GoodReads. You can also follow the author on Twitter under her pen name Tami Veldura or check out her website (I've been informed there's a Beauty and the Beast retelling and since I'm a fan of Beastly, that makes me excited.)
Wow. November is almost over. Why does time fly????? I got an editor for Abducted Life and have the first 10 pages back already. I'm looking for help with the cover reveal, too. Details here. Instead of working on Dark Waters or the zombie story, I've been eyeballing Half Slayed, which is a vampire story. LOL
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