The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 12th 2015

Synopsis:

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


The Ugly Stepsister_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Genre(s): Young-adult, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Page Count: 452

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, an awesome Cinderella fairytale retelling. It is honestly one of the best and one of the most unique retellings I have ever read, and I loved it. After all those fairytale retellings out there, you’d think that there aren’t many new ideas out there, but this book definitely throws those notions out of the water.

Quick Summary

Kat is your resident bookworm who loves to read (obviously). One day, while cleaning her attic, she accidentally rips an old Cinderella fairytale book and is transported inside the story, where she is told that she is required to complete the story in order to get back home. Thing is, Kat isn’t Cinderella. Nope, she’s the ugly stepsister, named Katriona Bradshaw. She must get the prince to fall in love with Cinderella… but problems arise when she starts to fall in love with the prince herself.

Plot

Ahh this plot was simply wonderful! It was full of twists and turns that I loved and couldn’t get enough of. The pacing was fast, and I loved how everything fit together so nicely. There was the main plot (Kat trying to get the prince and Cinderella together so she could go home to where she belongs) and then there were various subplots, other things that happened along the way that made the storyline even stronger. The plot of the novel is just so unique in itself, it was double the fun in reading the book and trying to guess at what might happen.

The only thing I have to say is that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I totally understood why the author had to make it that way, but I couldn’t—still can’t—fully accept it. That being said, it’s a pretty bitter-sweet kind of ending and not exactly what I was hoping for, but the rest of the story still makes it worth reading. The journey more than the destination, you know? And it isn’t terrible ending, it’s quite subjective really. Overall, the plot was totally unique and an awesome adventure!

Characters

“Books open new worlds to me.”

Let’s move on to the characters. Kat, the protagonist, was amazing. Not only was she a totally awesome bookworm, she seemed realistic and it was just lots of fun seeing her attempt to adjust in a new world, and so easy to relate to her as she struggled to do so. I could also totally see a lot of my bookworm tendencies in her and that was a wonderful touch.

“Okay Kat. This is Story World, for heaven’s sake, so get a grip on yourself. You’ve no business drooling over storybook characters.”

Replace Kat with Analee and that’s basically what I have to tell myself whenever I’m transported into a wonderful story and fall in love with the characters. (AKA, all the time!) 😉

Apart from Kat’s general relatability and bookishness, I loved her development. From a shy but likeable and kind of awkward bibliophile, she becomes a strong, independant and confident female character who I not only liked, but admired. She becomes more outspoken, and more sure of herself, and I loved seeing that in her.

I also really liked the love interest, the prince, Edward. But, I won’t lie, not as much as I did Kat. But that didn’t make him a bad character. He liked to read and owned a huge library which he allowed Kat to use (which reminded me a lot of Dorian from Throne of Glass, lol.) He’s a really good person, but at first, I really had trouble getting the image of the Edward from Twilight out of my head. I mean, come on, I’m sure all of you reading this right now was thinking about it. I don’t hate Edward by any means, but I really didn’t want to associate this character with him, for which reason I’m glad that I was able to identify him as his own person later on in the book.

And although there are some similarities between the two (mainly the temper) I really liked seeing how the story wasn’t affected that much by it. He was caring and a really sweet guy, who I think I kind of fell for by the end of the book. 🙂 The romance between him and Kat was quite cute and well balanced; just enough of it to keep readers satisfied and wanting more at the same time. So, basically, I’m trying to say although there are similarities between this Edward and Twilight’s Edward, they’re not too many and overall I really liked him.

There are several secondary characters in this, but there isn’t much to say about them since we don’t get too much of them in-depth since the story is told mostly from Kat’s 1st person POV, which didn’t leave much space for other characters to be as developed as her and Edward. I did really like Henry and Elle (Cinderella) though, who both play important roles in the book and are quite nice.

Writing Style

The writing style is perfect for this story! The writing really reflected both Kat’s humor and personality, which was lots of fun to read. It was fast paced to reflect the pace of the story, but it wasn’t too rushed and was simple but still very significant and beautiful.

Overall…

This is a book you definitely can’t miss if you like fairytale retellings—and unique ones at that! I haven’t read all the Cinderella fairytale retellings out there, but this one is definitely unlike most of them out there, in a good way. I mean, how many times have you read a retelling told from the POV of the ugly stepsister? And although this book didn’t follow the original fairytale that much, it was totally able to pull off a fresh concept wonderfully. Though the ending is quite subjective, the plot itself is full of twists and turns and a great story with a cute romance. The main character Kat is relatable and a wonderful person who goes through a lot of development—which is great. Edward, the love interest, is quite sweet and likeable, and not a replica of Edward from Twilight, fortunately. (Although if you have a major hate thing going on with Edward, I suggest you proceed with caution.) The writing style is also spot-on for this story and I loved it! All in all, this book was fantastic and I really liked it. I imagine you would too if you like retellings and romance—but we’d never know if you don’t try! I definitely recommend you give this book a shot.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought! And even if you haven’t, I’d love to know what you think of this book; want to read or not interested? Have you read any retellings told from the POV of the stepsister? (‘Cause I honestly would love to know! :P)

A tasty meal for sure! Gobble it up. 

Analee 10

 

Top 10 Tuesday #17 (August 4): Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read & Want To Read

Hello! It’s not Tuesday, but I’ll consider it the time for another Top Ten Tuesday,(a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This is an edited version of the post I had originally scheduled; for some reason this didn’t post as it was supposed to and now I’m 2 days late on this one. Oh well! I’m loving the topic and I’m definitely not going to be passing it up! XD
This week’s topic, as you can tell by the title of this post, is Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read and Want To Read! I’ll be dividing it into half; 5 retelling books I’ve read, and 5 that I want to read. So, let’s get to it! As usual, in no particular order:

Books I’ve Read

Lunar Chronicles 21. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel). This series is amazing!! If you haven’t read any of the books in this series yet, then you must start it now, I promise if you like fairytale retellings and fantasy, you won’t regret it.

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns & Roses_bookcover
Based on Beauty and the Beast. This book was amazing! I absolutely loved it!! Sarah J. Maas turned a classic fairytale into a whole new world of fae and magic. You can check out my review on it here if you’re interested!

THrone of Glass series3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Loosely based on/Inspired by Cinderella. This isn’t exactly a direct retelling of Cinderella, but the series is a [very] loose retelling of the story, and a great one at that!

4. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids_bookcover
Loosely based on The Little Mermaid. I just finished this one today, and boy, was it quite the story! I absolutely loved it. It was a beautifully written contemporary with fairytale elements mixed in, and it was a very unique retelling of The Little Mermaid.

The Ugly Stepsister_bookcover5. The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling
Based on Cinderella. This one is quite the unique retelling! Instead of being told from the perspective of Cinderella as you would expect, it was told instead from the POV of Cinderella’s stepsister instead. Cool, right? It was an amazing story!

Honourable mentions: Fairy Tales series by Melanie Dickerson (Including retellings of Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White & Cinderella), Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Cinderella)Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hudge (Beauty and the Beast)

Books I Want to Read

6. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn_bookcover
Based on A Thousand and One Nights. I just started reading this one recently. I’m not that far into it yet, but I’m really liking it! I’ve heard great things and the story seems really interesting.

Uprooted_bookcover7. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Based on Rapunzel. This book has been getting lots of hype and I really want to know what the hype is all about! It seems like a very interesting retelling of Rapunzel.

8. Splintered by A.G HowardSplintered_bookcover
Based on Alice in Wonderland. This one, I feel, has also been getting lots of hype! I can’t wait to read this, I haven’t read many Alice in Wonderland retellings and this one seems great.

Crimson Bound_bookcover9. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Based on Little Red Riding Hood. I haven’t read many Red Riding Hood retellings, now that I think of it, and I really want to try this one out, especially after reading Cruel Beauty, also by this author. I have a feeling I’d really enjoy this book and I can’t wait to read it!

10. A Whole New World by Liz BraswellA Whole New World_bookcover
Based on Aladdin. This book sounds amazing! What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie? What would happen then? Well, I guess this book delves into that! There aren’t enough Aladdin retellings, and this one seems great! Can’t wait to read it.

Honourable mentions: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Spelled by Betsy Schow, Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, The Child Thief by Brom


That’s it for this week’s belated Top Ten Tuesday! Do we have any books in common? Have some retelling recommendations? Let me know in the comments below! ❤

Analee 10