Sunday, December 21, 2014

Review: Five Glass Slippers: A Collection of Cinderella Stories

Hi all!

I finally finished this wonderful Cinderella short story collection!




Authors: Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, Clara Diane Thompson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Title: Five Glass Slippers: A Collection of Cinderella Stories
Release date: 9th of June 2014
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Fairy tail
Published by: Rooglewood Press
Pages: 429 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

ONE BELOVED STORY, FIVE EXCITING WRITERS
A COLLECTION TO CHERISH

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!



WHAT EYES CAN SEE: Elisabeth Brown

Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

BROKEN GLASS: Emma Clifton
The slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.

THE WINDY SIDE OF CARE: Rachel Heffington
Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

A CINDER’S TALE: Stephanie Ricker
It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen's blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

THE MOON MASTER’S BALL: Clara Diane Thompson
After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley’s Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can’t refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.

Review:

What Eyes Can See by Elisabeth Brown

The idea behind this story is intriguing, very simple, yet the impact to the original fairy tale was profound. What if Cinderella didn't want to marry the prince and he found his eyes drawn towards someone else? Well, this is what happens in the first story. And here are some of my thoughts:

I liked the Cinderella character in this, she was shy, subtle, sweet, reasonable, realistic and to be honest, a quite logical and better choice.

The underlying message that personality is what counts and appearance as the single factor in deciding who to be with won't always lead to a happy end. I also liked that in order to be with someone you need to be friends and confidants first, love comes after trust is gained.

The dialogue was somewhat bland and simplistic. The storyline was strong, but the meat on the bones, which had to appear via dialogue, descriptions, etc, was lacking to me.

It was fun to guess along with Arella's family on what her exact reasoning was. She kept it hidden for quite a while and, I have to admit, it was a bit of a surprise to me when it was revealed. I didn't see that coming and I liked that. Otherwise, I found Arella to be a drag, because she was so passive and, unconsciously or not, acted like a victim.

While a fresh take, I wasn't very fond of the change in attitude towards Cinderella in this story by her stepfamily. The kind and caring stepmother and supportive stepsisters just felt fake. I need to have a specific villain in my fairy tale.

While the prince's determination to woo Arella was admirable, it got kind of stalkery soon.

2 stars!


Broken Glass by Emma Clifton

Another Cinderella who doesn't want her prince, well, not THAT specific one at least, she's actually interested in the OTHER one.

I adored the love-hate relationship and banter between Rosalind and Marius. They kept on going and going and I quite enjoyed how they were so wrong for each other that it kind of felt right. I always prefer such fiesty and energetic relationships, so compared with the first story, this certainly aroused my interest and held it firmly.

Rosalind was a great heroine, but quite different from the classical Cinderella type: headstrong, opinionated, lively, witty and fearless. I wish there were more Cinderella characters out there with her attitude and personality, it would definitely make them more exciting and fun to read about.

I also liked prince "charming" in this for the simple reason that he wasn't as perfect and 2D as he's usually portrayed. Henry was, however, such a bother, but I liked where he ended up and with whom, it made for another quite original aspect. The third brother was a compelling addition and made an intriguing contribution to the plot, nevertheless, I found him too vile at times.

I liked the little cameo ending to another fairy tale. It was an original twist I couldn't see coming, but loved it when I realized where it was going. The humor was also noticeable in this story and it even managed to bring a smile to my face several times. So well done!

As a con I can say that some relationships developed too quickly and didn't feel natural.

4 stars!


The Windy Side of Care by Rachel Heffington

I really liked the switched-baby plot of this story, the idea was fresh and original. Also, the palace intrigue and light political side added color and substance to the novella. The ending was also quite unexpected, so kudos for not going down the easy and predictable path.

The dialogue was undeniably witty and smart, I really appreciate well written and fun conversations that display the peculiarities of the characters and aren't overly general, dull and with sentences that don't tell you anything about the person who utters them.

Well, this story certainly delivered a quirky, opinionated, smarty pants and confident heroine. I usually welcome such main characters with open arms and I wouldn't have ever thought I'd say this, but this girl crossed the line of rude and slightly bothersome. I admired her determination and attitude, but she came across too haughty to really warm up to.

Something that felt off: Are there really so little people in the city and so little variation in looks that it's so simple and definite that one can determine one's parentage only based on looks? Well, there were some other factors as well, but appearance was emphasized and it felt slightly odd.

The basis for the romance was promising, with the prince falling in love with the girl who want's to get rid of him and Alisandra in turn developing feelings for the prince who just wants to be free of his princely life and duties. Then again, the romance moved too fast, it was basically, BAM, and they were in love.

3 stars!


A Cinderella's Tale by Stephanie Ricker

The setting is what makes this version extremely special, I mean how many Cinderella's in space have you come across? So, Cinderella has finally arrived up there and the outcome is intriguing, unique and has so much potential for more stories with this particular background and characters (I got a strong Star Trek vibe from it). It could even be viewed as a prologue to an actual main story to come. I really appreciated this original world the author had created and, even though, the novella was as short as the other four, it managed to form a new universe with so many fresh ideas and it simply felt incredibly detailed and fulfilling.

This story focused on friendship amongst the "cinders" and Elsa's companions were all big players in the plot. Each had their own characterization quirks so they didn't blend into this vague mash, but were full-blown characters themselves who contributed to the plot one way or another. The story was also heavier on the action side and there were several gripping action scenes.

I really liked the romance, even though, there wasn't really any substantial evidence to actually call it a romance yet. The story set the board, but in reality it was just a teaser to what was to come. I'm so glad this taking it slow and realistic take eliminated the love-at-first-sight and not actually getting-to-know-each-other-first-before-marriage trope that is really one of the only things that I don't like about my favorite fairy tail, if not done incredibly right, which it isn't most of the time.

As a con, I feel that Elsa got a little lost in the impressive setting and all the details, I didn't feel that she was a fully evolved character yet. She felt slightly 2D. Also, I felt that the fantasy elements in the form of faeries felt off and didn't go with the mood of the setting and with the sci-fi genre.

4 stars!


The Moon Master's Ball by Clara Diane Thompson

I really loved the mysterious, slightly scary and darkly magical atmosphere of this story. The creepy circus, the weird evil creatures, the secrets, the enigmatic Moon Master... the idea was again incredibly promising and the setting fresh and different compared to what you wold expect when you read anything based on Cinderella. During the first chapters, I had no idea how it even connected to the fairy tale at all, excluding some minor details of course. Also, the mystery on what was actually going on and who were the bad guys and who the good was skillfully created, keeping me guessing till all was revealed.

The romance was again a welcome change, because it didn't force two characters to fall in love with each other on such basically nonexistent conditions, yet it provides a promising beginning to the couple where the possibilities are endless. I didn't think the other male admirer for Tilly's attention was necessary, though, and I didn't see any real purpose for him. I was, however, really compelled by the Moon Master and was sad we got to learn so little of him.

However, this story again suffers under the too-intriguing-background issue and I felt that the full characterization of Tilly and Jasper both was left in the shadow of the plot and wasn't the main priority. I can live through a not so ideal setting as long as the main couple is intriguing and developed enough to keep my interest, if the situation is reversed, I'm not as satisfied. The latter is exactly what happened in this story. Nevertheless, it's a gripping novella, that tried to achieve something different and was more or less successful.

3 stars!

Overall:

This was a great collection with a great variety of Cinderella inspired short stories - a must for all Cinderella lovers!

LIIS

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