Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Stepsister Scheme

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Stepsister Scheme (2009) Jim C. Hines

As you may or may not know, I love folk tales and fairy tales. I also love things derived from folk and fairy tales, which is why I love Fables, and Sandman, and Hellboy. Authors who work myth and characters from folklore into their works.

So when John Scalzi had Jim C. Hines on for his Big Idea post and it was about The Stepsister Scheme, I immediately added the book to my wishlist.

Then I decided I really wanted to read it and just went ahead and ordered it. (Note to Amazon: If I am ordering something off my own wishlist, why do you force me to choose a shipping address? Why can’t you be smarter than that?)

Cinderella (real name Danielle) has returned from her honeymoon and is adjusting to life as a princess when a series of unfortunate events leads her to the discovery that she’s not the only princess hanging around the castle, and these princesses believe that you need to be able to take care of yourself.

Which is how Danielle meets Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

What I enjoyed most about the story was how he drew upon the less familiar versions of those fairy tales, and didn’t hesitate to add his own twists to those stories. (His Sleeping Beauty seemed to borrow a good deal from Charles Perrault, but them diverged wildly, which did throw me for a loop at first. But it was a good loop, and made more sense than where Perrault went, actually.)

Additionally, these princesses have more in common with the princesses in Fables than with Disney (especially Cinderella)–they’re assertive (eventually) and stand up for themselves, and won’t sit by and allow someone else to control their destiny.

All in all, I loved the story. I loved the independence of the princesses, I loved the realm they inhabited (as unreal as it may be, hey, it’s fantasy), I love where the story went, and I really enjoyed the secondary characters.

I also liked Danielle’s doubts and fears and how those doubts and fears and her past tempered her actions in the present.

If you like Fables, then you will definitely want to check out The Stepsister Scheme. And I’m not telling you whether there’s a happily ever after. :)
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, Fantasy, Folk & Fairy Tales, Paper
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