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The Stepsister Scheme, by Jim C. Hines

Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty as Charlie's Angels — it's actually not as dumb as it sounds.


The Stepsister Scheme

Daw, 2009, 344 pages



You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after..." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella - whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia - otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty - comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?


So imagine a trio of Disney Princesses if Disney didn't suck.

Verdict: Think of The Stepsister Scheme as a slightly feminist Fables, with traces of Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony (the non-skeevy traces). It's not doing anything original, but what it does, it does well. A good read if you're in the mood for fun, light fantasy.




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Tags: author: h, genre: fantasy, genre: fiction, review
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