Monday, July 20, 2015

REVIEW: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister
When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she's magically transported into the world of Cinderella--as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she'll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a bit of a sucker for fairytale retellings, so I snatched this one up right when I saw it! I thought this was a very interesting take on a well known tale and I got sucked in (ha ha) right from the start! This book can now go down as one of my favorite retellings!

Kat is told to clean out the attic and comes across an old stash of picture books, when she accidentally rips one of the books, she gets sucked into the story. Now she has to play out the tale of Cinderella, all the way to the happy ending. But she's not Cinderella, she's one of the stepsisters and nothing seems to be following the story. Since when does Cinderella have another family? Where is the fairy godmother? And why is the prince taking an interest in Kat?

This book was actually very unexpected for me, because it's a retelling but not a strict retelling. I actually enjoy this, even though it made things more difficult for Kat, because it maakes the story completely new and it just all-in all surprised me. There were other things that I weren't expecting, like the child labor, but it did oddly add more to the book. It made the setting feel more real, not all rainbows and butterflies, and also added more to Kat's character.

Kat is actually a very relateable heroine. One might think she's just another one of those YA girls that think they're ugly and awkward, but not. She's not an ugly girl, and she thinks she's more average, but she's cast as "the ugly stepsister" because of how she thinks of herself. I say she's relateable because a lot of girls, me included, feel awkward and whatnot. I also say she's relateable because she likes to read!! I love characters who read! One other thing important about Kat is that she will stand up for what's right and against what's wrong, hence the child labor thing, and all throughout the book she tried to finish the story to get home to her family, even if she was finding her own happiness.

As for romance, I actually really liked it. It was a bit confusing,, because you want things to happen, but you don't think they will or things will work out differently, but there was no insta-love or other cheesiness that you would expect and I actually really liked the guy.

Now, I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending. I'm being vague, but I knew it would end that way, sort of, but it doesn't mean I didn't like it. It also included a trope I hate in books. <highlight to view spoiler>I hate it when characters lose their memory of the entire book!! If you're going to go that route, why not have Kat see a guy at school who is like the prince or something?<end of spoiler>

Overall, this was a brilliant retelling and it was very different! I think my only major problem that I had was the ending, but I'll just pretend that it didn't end that way.
Anyway, if you're a retellings fan, pick this one up!

I hereby give this book
4 Stars
Meaning: It was amazing!

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