May 2, 2014

Mini Review--Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

Rosamund Hodge's Gilded Ashes was a quick little read set in the world of Cruel Beauty and is a Cinderella tale. If anything, I would say it takes place before Cruel Beauty just based on Ignifex's appearance and him tolling out deals.

I enjoyed this read very much! Maia is our Cinderella and for the most part it sticks to the fairy tale. She does all the chores, has a cruel stepmother. Her stepsisters are not as cruel though. But Maia has it harder than Cinderella. Her mother's spirit remains at the house and is connected to the apple tree in back--more connections to the original tale! And she also controls demons. All in order to make sure Maia is always happy and never sad. Should someone upset her, well, they're in for a cruel punishment of some kind for her mother will sic the demons on them. So Maia must always act happy. 

I enjoyed how in this one, Maia gets to know Lord Anax--our prince. She doesn't just sneak off to a ball and fall madly in love with him. She delivers letters written by her sister to him and ends up talking with him more. It's definitely a case of building love! Yay for no insta! However, if she were to allow herself to love him, it would be the death of him. I wasn't really sure why, I mean I get that she said it would be her mother who would wreak the havoc on him. But I guess I lost touch with why her mother would reign unholy hell on this man for loving her daughter and making her happy. I just chalked it up to, if she loved him and he her, and then he upset her in some little way...then her mother would likely kill him. 

I enjoyed how this one ended as well. For awhile I was wondering about its direction, not going to give out the details on my thoughts either! But yeah, Rosamund definitely had me wondering just what was going to happen before it all ends! And I was tickled to see more threads of the original Cinderella tale making its way into the story!

A perfectly delightful read! I sooo cannot wait to see what else Rosamund will have for us in the future!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I liked Cruel Beauty and this novella had been on my wishlist for a while and I really want to read it soonish.


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