Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly


*This book was gifted to me for a honest review*

This book is exploding with feminism. Forget everything you have heard about Cinderella's Ugly Sisters, because they are incredibly brave and fighting for their honours. 
Beauty isn't about being pretty, it's about the type of person you are inside. 

I LOVED THIS BOOK! If you'd told me before reading this, that I would love the Ugly Sisters, I would've laughed in your face, but this incredible retelling has shown that anyone can change their future and become a person full of compassion. 

The story begins with Prince Charming looking for the owner of the glass slipper. I was horrified with the lengths that Cinderella's step mother went to, in order to make sure one of her daughters were chosen.  However, we all know how that story ends. 

Life becomes unbearable for Isabelle and Octavia, as they lose everything they valued. Isabelle's life is in the hands of Fate, literally, an old crone who has written her time span on a map. When Chance steals it, a duel begins between the two, on who can steer Isabelle's life. However, Fate and Chance aren't the only people in charge of destiny. Sometimes, we have to make our own decisions. 

The chapters are short and sharp, told from multiple viewpoints, so we get a full picture of how the story progresses. I felt this really suited this story and I loved seeing so many differing viewpoints. 

The story sets off at a pace, with Isabelle steering through one disaster after another. Will Fate or Chance get their own way? Not if Tanaquill (a.k.a. Fairy Godmother) gets her own way. Tanaquill has had quite a makeover since her appearance in Cinderella. Gone are the days of cute, cuddly, old maiden - Tanaquill is fiery, fierce and a force to be reckoned with. 

The story constantly reminds you how society views girls to be a certain way, especially during that time period. Tavi and Isabelle realise they don't want to conform. They have no intention of getting married and settling down. They are both strong in their own rights. 

This is a much darker version than the original fairytale, dealing with issues of war, death and physical abuse. At times, it was quite painful to read. 

The ending of the novel made my head explode. It was so cleverly written, I found myself so surprised by events, when really I shouldn't have been, as they were so magically set up beforehand.

I'm so impressed by this retelling, I really hope the author plans to reshape more fairytales in the future.  

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