Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
By Maureen McGowan

Published: 1 April 2011 by Silver Dolphin Books

Series: Twisted Tales #1

Read:  28 March – 4 April 2011

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

From the publisher
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!

Choose Your Own Magical Adventure

When I think of Cinderella, I think of an old Czech film called Three Nuts For Cinderella. It is shown every Christmas Eve in Norway, and has become part of the Christmas traditions for a lot of Norwegians. In the film Cinderella is an independent girl who is as skilled at hunting and horseback riding as she is at dancing. Maureen McGowan's Cinderella is much more like the Czech version than the traditional Cinderella.

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior is a delightful story. The character of Cinderella is not a timid girl who needs a prince to save her; she is a feisty, level-headed young woman who takes her fate into her own hands and succeeds because she believes in herself. She has been kept a prisoner by her evil stepmother for 13 years (I loved the idea of entrapment spells preventing her from running away) and treated like a servant, but she has never lost her positive outlook on the world or given up hope of a better life. She is determined to one day escape and make a life for herself, and the prince – or any man, for that matter – is not part of that plan. Unlike the passive Disney princess, this Cinderella actively tries to change her situation and I loved her for it. (I kept picturing Kristen Bell when I was reading – she is petite, blond and spunky, and would make a great Cinderella in the movie (which someone definitely should make).

I have to mention the evil stepmother, who is a truly evil and horrible female wizard. The way she treats Cinderella is appaling and I wanted to punch her in the nose more than once. The stepsisters, Gwendolyn and Agatha, are no better than their mother, but they are both too dumb to be evil – they are just mean. Still, they both have layers; especially Agatha has hidden depths. The only character that felt a bit bland was the prince, but then I have never liked princes very much (give me a pirate or a warrior any day).

The book is built up as a "choose your own adventure story". Three times you are presented with two choices and the story is different depending on what choice you make. I haven't read through all the different choices yet (there are eight different versions of the story altogether), but I will – and I am sure all the versions will be equally enchanting. I hope this will be the Cinderella story children are told in the future.

Best: The evil stepmother is deliciously evil, and Cinderella is great. And I love the mix of magic and martial arts.

Worst: There really wasn't anything I disliked.

Bottom line: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior is a fresh take on a familiar fairy tale, complete with an engaging heroine, an evil stepmother, a pair of mean stepsisters, a wise animal, a fairy godfather and true love. Oh, and all sorts of magic in between.

My rating:

Another Twisted Tale, Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, was released at the same time as Cinderella.

Twisted Tales
  1. Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (2011)
  2. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (2011)
Visit the author's website.


Ishta Mercurio said...

What a thorough review! I like the sound of a heroine who can hunt, ride horseback, AND dance! My kind of princess story.

lisa :) said...

I'm not sure I would like the Choose-your-own-adventure style (though I loved those books as a child) but I really like the title and concept of these reimaginings of classic fairy tales! Nice review!

Hilde said...

Ishta - Thank you! The hunting, hore-riding, dancing Cinderella I referred to is from the movie, but the Cinderella in the book does her stuff pretty well too. I think you might like it.

Lisa - I have never read a choose-your-own-adventure book before, so I enjoyed the novelty of it (for me). You end up in the same place no matter what choices you make along the way, so essentially you get different versions of the same story. And yes, I too love the concept for these stories, it's such a fun idea.

Related Posts with Thumbnails