Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review - Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey (4/5 stars)

Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" (Once Upon a Time)Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 208 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: March 6, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-1416934714
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars

I love fairy tale retellings and have read a couple written by Dokey previously.  So far Dokey's writing has been a bit hit and miss for me, but this book was definitely a hit.  It was actually one of the better retellings of Cinderella that I have read.

You know the basic story but in this version there are some changes.  Cinderella's name is really Cendrillon and her father is alive, but has abandoned her because the death of her mother makes Cendrillon's company too painful.  There is another boy whose birthday is the same day as Cendrillon's who grows up with her but has an unknown past.  Add to the mix two countries torn by centuries of war, but currently at peace and you have the makings for a great Cinderella retelling.

I loved that Dokey approached this retelling a bit differently, in some ways she stuck truer to the Brothers Grimm version than the Disney version.  In someways she made everything a bit more sweet too.  Most of the story focuses on the power of love and wishes.  When Cendrillon wishes for sisters and a mother to love, her wish comes true but not in the way she imagined.  Her stepsisters and stepmother aren't as horrible as they are in some renditions, and the ways they are horrible in are because their own pain.

There are a lot of twists to the plot, making it more interesting than the traditional Cinderella story.  All the characters involved are paired up happily in the end too, which while unlikely and a bit goofy, is also very fairy tale like and sweet.

Overall an excellent retelling of Cinderella.  Very sweet and loving characters, a very fairy tale like ending.  I loved that the plot was complicated by sympathetic characters and had some additional politics thrown in.  The writing is beautiful and descriptive.  If you like fairy tale retellings I can recommend this as a good read.

Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella" (Once Upon a Time)

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