My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
“The Stepsister Scheme” was recommended to me by a friend of mine, after a discussion of fairytale retellings. She insisted that this was a particularly good series if I was interested in that sort of thing, and though my to-read list was already long enough, I agreed to give the first book a try.
Usually I am something of a skeptic when it comes to books suggested by friends of acquaintances. Not because any of them have poor taste, but because I simply prefer to select my own reading material. In this case, I was glad I took my friend’s advice.
The opening book in Jim C. Hines Princess series began kind of slowly, relying on the strength of its characters to get the ball rolling. If there was any one factor that kept me reading–even when the action slowed–it was how well-developed the characters were. The three princesses were especially indicative of this fact.
Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow (Snow White) are the examples I would suggest to anyone trying their hand at reworking a classic tale. While aspects of each girl’s story remained true to society’s ideas, there were plenty of differences or nuances that served to enhance each character. I was especially enthralled by the idea that there is always a difference between what is commonly known and what the truth really is. I can’t wait to see how this theme is explored throughout the series.
I was only about halfway through “The Stepsister Scheme” when I added the remaining three books to my queue, and so far I don’t regret it in the slightest. It will be interesting to see where Hines takes his three princesses for the next book–especially since the fairytale he’s addressing is one I’ve always thought required some adjustments.