In Michelle Davidson Argyle's retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella has married her Prince Charming and is finding out the darker side of love and royalty.
This is definitely not the Ella Enchanted-style spin on Cinderella. From the first page, you can tell CINDERS is the kind of book that will send scary-shivers down your spine; it's not afraid to explore those dark alleys, pry deeper into the insecurities and ugly sides of the heroine. I love the role that magic plays here, how it doesn't always make things better, but quite often tends to make things much, much worse.
I was surprised by how Cinderella was portrayed here. She is not constantly chipper, perfectly sweet, or any of the characteristics she is often given. She is impatient, confused, a little heartless at times, curious, and strong. I can respect her decisions, even if I don't always agree with them. I felt that Prince Rowland (almost inevitably) fell short in terms of matching up with Cinderella, a bit blander and drier than our heroine, the kind of man who is easy to overlook and take for granted. Maybe that's exactly what Cinderella does.
I have to say, my favorite part of CINDERS is probably the setting. It has this Celtic-esque, medieval feel to it, which is intricate, ornate, and mysterious. It lacks the warmth I traditionally associate with Cinderella stories, but in a way, suits the purpose of the storytelling.
Critically, I do feel like it was hard to initially immerse myself in the story because Cinderella seems closed off to me in the beginning, and Rowland is consistently hard to decipher. But there were enough questions being raised to keep me pushing through the pages, and the ending stayed true to the rest of the book, which I appreciated very much.
This is one of those books you have to read more than once, because I think it's much easier to appreciate it and notice the little things the second time around. I actually believe this is one of the few books that becomes richer with the second reading, so I highly recommend you take it slowly and enjoy the atmosphere that is woven.
CINDERS is beautifully produced and bound. It's simply marvelous to hold in your hand and flip through the pages. Very professionally made. Definitely a gorgeous addition to any bookshelf. You really need to own a physical copy if you're going to purchase it. Seriously, as much as I know how convenient e-books are and how some people wax eloquent about the wonders of e-readers for hours, CINDERS is in its best form on paper. It's a stunning design. (I do wish there were hardcovers.)
I am doing a giveaway for this book in the next week, and I'll put up a separate post for that on Friday. It's a signed copy, so you know what, YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO GO BREAK MY HEART BY GETTING THE ELECTRONIC VERSION, I will deliver the physical copy right into your eager, grabby hands. It has a lovely bookmark too, and I use it for everything, even my textbooks, because it looks so classy. (Also, Michelle has a super pretty signature, the kind that was made for autographs, and you will definitely feel inadequate about your own name-signing abilities when you see it.)
To find more information on CINDERS and Michelle Davidson Argyle, go to her official website, where you can read other reviews, read excerpts, and buy the book.