The Ugly Stepsister
by Aya Ling
Release Date: June 10, 2015
When Kat accidentally transports herself into one of her old fairytale books as Cinderella’s ugly step-sister, she finds herself in quite the predicament. The only way to get home is ensure that the story ends as it should—with a happily ever after. Unfortunately for her, the rest of the characters don’t seem to be playing along; she has no idea where the fairy godmother is hiding, the handsome prince seems to hate all the attention that comes with his status, her beautiful sister is dead set on becoming queen, and if all of that weren’t enough, Cinderella has her eyes set on someone else. How is Kat supposed to make sure the story runs smoothly and still learn how to navigate the social season as a highborn lady?
I am not a huge fan of retellings because I feel like they all end up being the same so I almost didn’t bother reading this. And omg, how horrible would that have been? Because I honestly loved everything about this! I think that just the small change of making this from the ugly stepsisters perspective added so much to the story. But that isn’t even the best part. The characters were so well-written and amazing. I loved every single one of them—even the actual evil, stepsister.
Kat predictably started off as shy and clumsy but quickly turned into the brave heroine. It was great seeing her grow and become assertive and bold. She challenges various issues in the fairy tale world including child labor and sexism. I thought it was funny how everyone is either impressed or scandalized by her behavior and was happy that she felt the need to do something about these injustices despite knowing she wouldn’t be in Athelia long. Prince Edward is very down-to-earth and passionate about his position, despite the fact that he doesn’t like all the attention that comes along with being the crown prince. He was so cute and sweet and understanding—I just loved him.
Another thing I really liked was the distinction between Kat’s voice and that of all the other fairy tale characters. They really sounded like they came straight out of a fairy tale while she had a modern vocabulary—it was very comical at times. Eventually she kind of starts to sound like them, but there was always that modern slang that confused the hell out of everyone else.
This is by far one of my favorites and I hope Aya continues to write such amazing and strong female characters! The only thing I would change about this is the cover. The current one does not do this justice and I think this is definitely deserving of a prettier and more magical one.
* Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *