Friday, 12 June 2015

Book: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

Title: The Ugly Stepsister
Author: Aya Ling
From: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Release Date: 12th June 2015
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 New Release Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

When everyday girl, Kat, wakes up in a fairy tale she is told that the only way to break the curse is to follow through the story until she reaches the happily ever after. The only problem is that Kat is ugly stepsister while her sister, Biance, is drop dead gorgeous, Cinderella (Elle) has a mother and two brothers, and the fairy Godmother seems to be AWOL. Then she meets Prince Edward. While she tries to make Edward interested in Elle, she can't help but be interested in him herself and Edward seems more interested in her than in his traditional love...

The Ugly Stepsister turned Cinderella up side down, inside out and back to front, and I loved every second of it! Part of that was Kat, she didn't put herself down too much like many YA heroines do, and she stood up for what she believed in. She did what she thought was best even when it made her life harder, and she formed bonds rather than just flitting through.

The world that Kat was transported to reminded me rather of Regency/Victorian settings, with the back drops of the Season and the Industrial revolution. I prefered this to a more medieval setting though I can't really say why! I liked that Kat got fed up with all the parties and social events, as much as many girls would love to go to all those balls and parties I do imagine that they would get a bit annoying after a bit! And then there was her social consience. A lot of the things that we take for granted; women's equality and the outlawing of child labour being the main two; were big parts of the culture and Kat did a lot in an attempt to make those things better.

There were two main romances going on it The Ugly Stepsister, though the main one that was focused on was Edward and Kat's relationship. It budded slowly and it was clear from early on what they were going to mean to one another, but at the same time Kat tried to keep him at arms length due to her not being Cinderella. Then there was Elle (Cinderella) and Henry (the Prince's cousin)'s relationship which was a more distant thing but clearly there.

There were elements of Kat's story where she took on parts of Cinderella herself, though I don't think she quite realised that. And it was quite clear from early on the way that the fairy tale was going to end. But I lliked that, I thought it made the whole thing more complex!

I loved this take on Cinderella, it was different and exciting and I just loved Kat! (And Edward!)