Fluffy paranormal urban fantasy? If you like the ideas in paranormal urban fantasy stories but are frustrated by the iffy (if existing) consent and soap-level angst that stalls out the action for chapters at a time, this book is a gift to you. You’re welcome. If you LOVE paranormal urban fantasy, the second book in the series will work better for you.
Plot: In a kingdom far far away, Cinderella is about to marry her prince while her evil ugly stepsisters rot in an asylum for the Wicked, Ugly and Bad for their mistreatment of her. Only it turns out Cinderella is a huge dick and that Scarlett and Drusilla aren’t what the stories about them say and there are other folks in the asylum that aren’t all that Bad either. Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover? Scarlett is planning on escaping the asylum and proving to everyone what a POS Cinderella actually is. Her team? A Big Bad Wolf, a wicked witch, a bridge ogre, and an evil prince. Go Tuesday Share Circle! Shenanigans ensue.
The pace of this book is completely outrageous. It does not stop. Shenanigans begin page 1 and do not cease for a moment. It has spectacular sarcastic banter, a heroine that is both compassionate and a massive bitch (why are there not more bitchy heroines?), explosive fights and non stop, bone dry, foul mouthed, raunchy humour. To whit, some of the doctor’s notes, which precede every chapter: “Today in group, we tried a team building exercise. There were three fatalities.” If your sense of humour is mature and elegant, this will absolutely not work for you.
It uses a world built by fairy tales, but don’t expect adherence to canon. It is definitely the most original use of the format I’ve seen since Fables. It makes me think a lot of Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert, which is a major compliment. I had a blast reading this.
BUT. A few things readers should be aware of before they pick up the book:
Gannon is fond of describing facial features simply as “exotic”. That’s out of bounds and also an entirely useless description that tells the reader nothing.
There is an antagonist with a fairly niche kink that is broadly looked down on in our society and the author uses that kink (rather than the fact that the antagonist forces people to participate in this kink against their will) as the butt of a joke on multiple occasions, calling them a pervert and stuff. For a book all about trying to unshackle people from their preconceptions about things described “bad” simply because someone doesn’t like it, that’s not very open minded.
The editing. Look, this is a self-published novel you can read for free on Kindle Unlimited. It could definitely be more polished. Personally, I stopped noticing that stuff a few chapters in (or else only the first few chapters were poorly proofed), but I know for some of you that will be a deal breaker.
Finally, content warning: one of the primary characters (and several supporting and tertiary characters) are survivors of habitual sexual violence and trafficking. This is alluded to but without detail for the main characters, but one tertiary character (male, if that matters) experiences this on the page.