Released on January 4, 2012
I enjoyed this fun and loosely based paranormal tale on the classic Cinderella story. I love fairytale retellings so I grabbed it up when I saw it. I refer to it as a loose retelling for more reasons than that our Cinderella sprouts fur and our Prince Charming has a liquid diet. In this story, Cinderella’s family and circumstances only bare distant relation to the original tale. The prince’s side has a few twists too, but sticks closer to the familiar story. There is a wonderful blend of the contemporary with the paranormal, realistic with fantasy, and the updating of characters without going so far we can’t recognize them.
In this plot, two young people meet on the island kingdom each summer every day near a secluded wood and spend their time as comfortable casual friends before they part when the girl goes home to Florida for the ten months of the rest of the year. Theirs is an idyllic friendship in which they share pretend names and speak little of their personal circumstances. It is the boy, Jack’s idea. He hides the fact that he is really Prince Remy because he dearly wishes to be treated like everyone else just for this little while for who he is and not his title or family. Cydney really doesn’t have any secrets from Jack, but she tells him to call her Cinderella just to play along with his wishes.
It is in the summer that Jack is fifteen and Cinderella is fourteen that he sees his friend as a beautiful girl who he as come to feel more than friendship for. He wants just one kiss with her before their summer ends and she must leave. Unfortunately, that is when the unthinkable happens. Cinderella is a werewolf and she thought she had more time before her change, but suddenly her first change comes on her and she injures Jack. She has to leave him there or she may hurt him worse. Her mother never took the family back to the island after that. For several years, she fears that she killed him, but it is also during this time that her mother is killed in an accident and she and her little brother are left orphans and come back to the island to live with their aunt and cousins.
Cydney never has gotten over the fear that she will do to someone else what she did to Jack and that now that she is back on the island that someone will discover that she is the werewolf that attacked a human. She lives timidly on the outskirts afraid of herself and thus afraid to actually live normally as a teen- school, hanging out with friends, dating. For Remy, he has never given up hope of finding his Cinderella, but due to the political climate his father is forcing him into marriage and he only has six-months to choose. Now that Remy is a vampire, agents are afoot to take him down because they don’t want a vampire taking the throne when the current king is gone. Remy chafes under his father’s dictates, but insists that he will cooperate just so long as he gets help searching for Cinderella so she can be at his ball. Only problem is- his Cinderella doesn’t want to go to the ball, she doesn’t care about the royals and she detests vampires.
So as you see, the plot was a fun mix and match with a kindly nod to the original while containing a fair amount of new material too. I enjoyed these characters a great deal from Cydney to Remy. I liked that Remy as Prince Charming had more face time than the original so we have a chance to get to know him as more than the handsome love struck Prince. Cydney’s aunt, cousins and brothers were fun and a true family to her. No wicked people there! Remy’s ‘family’ of the king and his top advisor, Dunston were a nice addition too. The main plot was well done with the dangerous assassination and takeover coup being a viable threat to drive the plot. I only had one issue and its probably just me. I got irritated with Cydney’s continued and it seemed constant fear of becoming the big bad wolf. She only lapsed once. It was her first time and though she shifts every day since and nothing happens she stills stews about it. Her internal dialogue and the external dialogue with her family was mostly about that. I didn’t mind and understood the point mentioned a few times, but I just got tired of how prevalent it became to the point where I was looking for some wicked step-mother or step-sister action just to break it up.
All in all, this was a refreshing take on the Cinderella tale that everyone from the early young adult years to us young at heart types can enjoy who don’t mind a fairy tale blended with a contemporary paranormal romance. The book would fall into the fairly clean category with only mild language, no sex, and mild violence taking place.