The Stepsister Scheme (Princess #1)
by Jim C Hines
published by DAW
genre: Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale, Retellings,
Summary (Goodreads): 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 happily 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) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.
But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia - otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty - comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.
That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.
Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?
My Thoughts: I'm not really familiar with the darker fairytales. I mostly know the basic Disney tales with a few side facts here or there that come from other tellings. This is definitely not a Disney story.
The author has created an interesting world. Both Snow White and Sleeping beauty's stories have already taken place. After the tragedy of their stories they both end up living with Cinderella's mother-in-law as a secret group that takes care of things the King would be better off not knowing.
Danielle (Cinderella) is still newly married when this starts and not confident in her place. I liked watching her grow as a character. While she still had doubts about her abilities, she still did what had to be done in order to protect her child and try and save the Prince.
Talia (sleeping beauty) was probably my favorite. There was something about how able she was (do to the gifts from the fairys) and yet she was also the most damaged of the three. Hearing bits of her story throughout just made her that much stronger.
Overall, I always enjoy finding new retellings of old stories and this one didn't disappoint. From finding out how and why the stepsister were suddenly able to pull all this off to the whole world of Fairytown, it kept me engaged in the story. I liked that there was an HEA in this story even if it wasn't what you normally think of one. I'm looking forward to reading the next story and watching the bonds and abilities of these three princesses grow.