Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Double Review: Maureen McGowan's Twisted Tales

Today, I reviewed two books for Maureen McGowan's book tour for Twisted Tales, so the reviews are shorter than usual, but I hope you will still enjoy reading them.

1. Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales #1)

GENRE: re-telling/fairy-tale/supernatural

In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

After her father’s death, Cinderella becomes a slave to her evil stepmother and stepsisters Gwendolyne and Agatha. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But in this story, Cinderella trains in secret in the privacy of the cellar to become a ninja warrior and one day defeat her evil stepmother, a powerful sorceress who only allows Cinderella to live so that she, the stepmother, can claim Cinderella’s mother’s powerful wand that is hidden somewhere. Right from the start, it is clear that the reader is bound for a magical and different kind of fairy-tale adventure.

I truly enjoyed the characters and the way they were outlined. Cinderella is a feisty young woman who knows she must tread carefully around her stepmother, but who is also determined to save herself. So, she reads about ninja fighting in secret and trains herself, while her loyal cat, Max, is watching. Her mother knew magic, but Cinderella’s powers are truly underdeveloped and she hopes to become like her mother. She sees her opportunity at a ball hosted by the king and queen of the country – the ball will hold a magic competition. The prince is really fun, and also dashing, but most importantly he is down-to-earth – as much as a prince can be so – and respects his heroine. The stepmother and her daughters are really evil and delightfully so.

It is important to know that this is a choose-your-own-adventure type of novel. The reader can help shaping the story and it is really fun to combine the different possibilities. While they all lead to pretty much the same ending, the creative process is the one that is truly entertaining.

Magic, aside from the ninja-warrior training (and very much connected to it), is a very important part of the novel and I loved the way the author handled and used it in the novel.

All in all, this is a highly entertaining “twisted” spin on the classical fairy-tale that should delight any fan of fairy-tales, adventures, magic and, of course, ninjas.


2. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales #2)

GENRE: re-telling/fairy-tale/supernatural

In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

This is a highly original and entertaining “twisted” retelling of the classical fairy-tale Sleeping Beauty. In this novel, Lucette (our Sleeping Beauty), who is Princess of Xandria, is cursed by Natasha, the evil Queen of Sanguina, for a mysterious reason. The curse involves Lucette pricking her finger like in the original, but this time the kingdom will sleep when she will be awake during the night, and she will sleep when the kingdom will be awake during the day. The other fairies lessen the curse: Lucette will not prick her finger before she turns sixteen and the curse will be over once she finds her true love.

Lucette grows up shielded from sharp object. She must not expose herself to any danger, but when she meets a vampire her age, she begins to train as a vampire slayer in secret to prevent any wayward vampires to enter the palace while everyone is sleeping. Lucette shows that she is not a damsel in distress, but a real fighter and she is definitely not afraid to kick. She is adventurous and witty, and definitely a heroine that can be seen as inspiring.

This is also a choose-your-own-adventure type of novel. What I found really interesting about this novel is that it features a love triangle. I must not mention names and I will not describe the two men to avoid spoilers, but it was definitely interesting to follow this love triangle and although true love triumphs, which is the only thing I am willing to accept in fairy-tales, I confess that I was very much inclined towards the man who “lost”. Both male characters are good characters and make for worthy competitors for Lucette’s love.

I have to say that this is definitely one of the most original retellings of a classical story and as I am a fan both of vampires and fairy-tales, this is a perfect combination for me. If you are like me in this respect, you will definitely enjoy this story.


I received both ARCs via NetGalley.

Thank you to Teddy at Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for offering me the novels to review and for organizing the book tour.


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I was skeptical about the Sleeping Beauty twist because of the inclusion of vampires but it sounds really interesting, especially with Natasha's curse and the love triangle aspect.

I loved the Cinderella twist though as I do most Cinderella stories.

Blodeuedd said...

I have only read one choose your own path story so I can't say if I would like it or not

Jo K said...

I was wondering about these two. I think I'd enjoy both. Great reviews!

Teddy Rose said...

I think it's important for girls to have strong role models, even in books. Both of these books sound like a refreshing take on these classic fairy tales.

Julie P said...

These both sound like fun reads. Glad you enjoyed them!

4rx said...

jajajaja this is not the first time that I see a pretty princess turned into something savage and brave, in fact the first example of this transformation is "Pride and Prejudice and zombies" so funny.