Monday, March 14, 2011

Early Review - Cinderella Ninja Warrior: Twisted Tales by Maureen McGowen (4/5 stars)

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales)Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Choose Your Own Adventure
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Release Date: April 1, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1607102557
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this through  I was so excited to read this, I grew up on choose your own adventure books, and was excited to see this applied to a fairy tale retelling.  This book was an easy read, lots of fun, and I am happy that I got a chance to read it.

You all know the story.  Cinderella lives with her two wicked stepsisters and her evil stepmother.  During the nights she practices her ninja skills with her faithful cat Max.  Max seems to know more than an average cat...  Cinderella's stepmother is especially interested in finding the magic wand of Cinderella's mother and she thinks Cinderella knows where it is (I forgot to mention CInderella, her mother, and her step-mother are all sorceresses).  Then it's time for the ball of the century, you know with the prince and all.  What will you choose?  Will you tell your evil stepmother you want to go to the ball?  Will you tell her you're not interested and remain faithful to your ninja training? It's up to you to decide.

I really enjoyed this book; it was just some good clean fun.  The tale stays fairly true to the original Cinderella, but there are some changes.  Cinderella and others are all sorceresses that can use magic both with and without a wand.  Things are a bit more complicated because Cinderella's step mother is actually after a wand that she thinks Cinderella has hidden.

The writing style for this story is simple but well-done.  This tale leans a bit more to the Disney end of things than the Grimm brothers end, although at points Cinderella's stepmother is especially wicked.  Cinderella's step-sisters are also pretty mean, but they are touched with a bit of humanity that makes you sympathize with least a little bit.  The prince is wonderful; unknown to Cinderella the boy she is hanging out with is the prince (trust me this isn't a huge spolier because it's pretty easy to figure that out right at the beginning).  While this is totally predictable it was also very sweet.  Ty and Cinderella have time to really get to know each other and forge a bond; gradually falling in love in a way that is sweet and touching.

The choose your own adventure part was well done.  Unlike the old choose your own adventure books you will not end up at a horrible ending...if I remember correctly in the old adventures you often ran into a "YOU ARE DEAD".  There are three sections in the book where all the points converge; no matter which path you take you will read the first part, a middle section, and then the end section.  The parts in between those vary depending on what you decide.  For example at one point you can choose to let a lady-in-waiting help you prepare for the ball or to not attend the ball.  Either way you end up with the same ending you just get there a different way.  At the end of the book McGowen lists all the possible paths through the book if you want to go through and do some rereads.  It is more linear than old school choose your own adventures and not as flexible; but still good fun.

Overall I enjoyed this a lot.  I loved that it was a choose your own adventure.  I loved how the ninja training was added in without warping the main fairy tale too much.  I loved the magic the was woven into the story.  I loved how this was a sweet, simple, fairy tale retelling, with characters that were easy to relate to and good at heart.  Sure it was predictable, sure things were a bit stereotypical at times; but it was still a fun and sweet read.  It's appropriate for all ages and I hope more choose your own adventure tales are planned for the future! I will probably pick up Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales) by McGowen to read some time soon.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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