"When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she's magically transported into the world of Cinderella--as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she'll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?"
NetGalley. Thanks for the copy.
The ugly stepsister must be an insulting and harsh role to play, but that is what Kat has to do. After ripping up the story of Cinderella, she is forced to rewrite the book by playing her brand new part. A modern girl, she is thrown back into the horrifying ages of the Industrial Revolution (or somewhere around the time there were machines and child labor, because I admit I'm terrible at history) where medicine is horrible, where there is no plumbing system, and where the rulers of the kingdom are "imbeciles" (Kat's words, not mine).
Kat is a normal girl in our world. Until she is thrown into a purely fictional world that isn't very fictional because she won't be able to go back to her real world unless she plays matchmaker and get Ella and the prince together. But of course, complications arise and a lot of twists and turns take place. Kat's character and personality really comes out when she discovers how much she dislikes the fictional world. She is shocked by how much a girl is limited because of how society acts, and she doesn't let that stop her. Not one bit. She proves her intelligence, and she catches the eye of a very dashing figure who is so, so wrong for her.
Edward, the love interest for Kat, is terribly wrong for her. He is supposed to be the one for Ella (the fictional world's Cinderella), but instead, he has fallen in love with Kat. Despite living in a backwards world (backwards compared to ours), he is surprisingly leaning towards contemporary times. However, he does hold some sexist views, but... His character development definitely is one of the best in this book, aside from Kat's.
The story is perfectly paced, and I find myself quickly lost in the world of The Ugly Stepsister. It is a great retelling of "Cinderella," and I'm sure many would be pleased by the changes and little twists. There is only one disappointing part, and that is the ending. There are many loose ends. I hope Aya Ling would write a sequel, but it doesn't seem too likely. Still, there is always hope. (And hope is the ending of the book.)
Overall, The Ugly Stepsister is a daring retelling of a favorite Grimm's fairy tale, "Cinderella." Readers would be pleased by an awesome heroine who is strong and brave in her own way. Prince Edward is an interesting love interest, and Ella is wonderful. The story is a sweeping tale that will take readers to a brand new but also old world.
Rating: Four out of Five