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The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, Bk 1)
The Stepsister Scheme - Princess, Bk 1
Author: Jim C. Hines
You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happlily ever after...." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella -- whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) -- ...  more »
PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780756405328
ISBN-10: 0756405327
Publication Date: 1/6/2009
Pages: 352
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 54 ratings
Publisher: DAW
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
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reviewed The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, Bk 1) on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I loved Into the Woods, the Steven Sondheim musical, was horribly disappointed by Shrek the Third and love Zorcerer of Zo. So this novel, a story about what happened to Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in "the happily ever after" is my kind of book.

Hines steals from the original source material, so its a bit darker. Talia (Sleeping Beauty) was raped to waken her from child birth, and a lot of her nature stems from this. Snow White (whose character name I can't recall) is a matricide (and was run out of her kingdom for it). Cinderella (Danielle Whiteshore, nee de Glas), has to deal with a dead step mother, and two stepsisters who were pretty badly maimed in their schemes, plus attacked by birds at her wedding. On the plus side, Danielle did come out ahead with the Prince, a wedding and an elevation in status.

The book opens with an attack by one of the stepsisters, Charlotte, wielding great magical power that nearly kills Danielle, if it weren't for Talia. After that, they learn the prince (Armand) is missing and the game is afoot! The trail leads to fairy town, which is surreal. It still bears the scar of a war with the humans generations ago and operates under a very different set of rules than Lorindar (the human kingdom).

Its a good book, not great, but good. I liked it and am likely to read the sequels Mermaid's Madness and Red Hood's Revenge.
reviewed The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, Bk 1) on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Cinderella gets her prince and moves into the palace and lives happily ever after, right? Maybe not, if your wicked stepsisters won't give up and kidnap the prince!
Cindy teams up with two other princesses, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, and together they track down those two witches, the evil stepsisters and get Cindy's Prince Charming back!
Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Wrong. Unless you like lots of depictions of battles and tussles. I don't. I should have known what I was getting into when the first fight occurred within the first ten pages of the story. To me, it seemed like one of those books where the story is merely a transitional device to the next fight. Beyond the constant fighting though, the book is just not interesting. I never really cared about any of the characters until nearly the end of the book. The only part that captured my attention is where Danielle (aka Cinderella) ends up captive and serving her stepsisters just like in the bad old days. That was the only part of the book that I felt was compelling and interesting. The rest was just blah.
reviewed The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, Bk 1) on + 2527 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is the first of four Princess books written by Hines. Previously I read Hines Jig the Goblin series and enjoyed it. This book has a lot of humor and is heartfelt, it was a cute read with a predictable, yet engaging plot.

I listened to this on audiobook and it was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of doing individual character voices and conveying emotion.

Danielle (aka Cinderella) marries the Prince Armand. Things are going dreamily for them until Danielles stepsister tries to murder her and Danielle finds out that Armand has gone missing into Fairy Town. This is the point where Danielle finds out that the Queen has some secret agents of a sort in Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow White. Both are have their own special abilities and are going to assist Danielle in rescuing Armand.

This was a fun read of a mishmash of fairy tales. I enjoyed it alot. It would probably be okay for young adult, but the characters are adults and do discuss adult issues. For example Danielle talks a bit about how much fun her and Armand had on her wedding night. There is also some subtle discussion about the rape about one of the female characters.

Danielle is admittedly not trained in rescue missions. I liked that she was caring and loving but determined to help rescue her husband. I also love that she had to undergo some training to use her sword (and wasnt instantly proficient with it).

Snow White and Talia are also engaging characters who have their own heart-wrenching pasts and tales. Hines doesnt shy away from the dark side of these fairy tales. He does a very good job of making believable characters who have survived living past the tragedies that these classical fairy tales visited upon them.

The characters have a lot of heart and I loved the idea of our favorite fairy tale heroines being the active rescuers. The whole book tips these fairy tales on their heads a bit. As a reader we are forced to think about how someone might actually deal with the fallout from these crazy fairy tales.

The plot is well done and full of intrigue, dark magic, evil stepsisters, and even more evil sorcerers. It is a fun and engaging read that doesnt take itself too seriously. Everything is nicely tied up at the end of this book.

Overall a fun read. I really enjoyed it. It is a fun and light fairy tale retelling for adults. The characters have a surprising amount of heart and depth to them as well. I loved how the fairy tales were mashed together and how we got to see what happens after the fairy tales we know have ended. I am uncertain right now if I will read the remaining books in this series. While I enjoyed this book, it wasnt spectacularly was just cute and fun. Recommended to those who enjoy fairy tale retellings with some spunk to them.
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Princess  1 of 4