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Princess series by Jim C. Hines

Complete series with 4 books.
Genres: fairy tales, fantasy

Series Blurb:

See the happily ever after. Danielle Whiteshore, also known as Cinderella by others and Cinderwench by her family, is living her happily ever after. Then her husband is kidnapped. Two of her husband’s mother’s maids, one once known as Sleeping Beauty and the other Snow White, aid Danielle in getting him back. Then Danielle joins the Queen’s ranks.

Reading Order:

1. The Stepsisters’ Scheme
2. The Mermaid’s Madness
3. Red Hood’s Revenge
4. The Snow Queen’s Shadow

Review:

The idea of visiting fairy tales after their happily ever after was a good one. I typically enjoy fairy tale retellings. Yet, this wasn’t a retelling, it is the happily ever after. Or, in this case, a not so happily ever after.

The Stepsisters’ Scheme is all Danielle in action. She isn’t very useful, she just has a use. After that, the story opens up more and more as the narration style style changes. We add in the the narrations of Snow and Talia (Sleeping Beauty). We see the story from the perspective of the villains. The story isn’t as forced.

The series gets better as it goes on. The first book is sort of shallow and not very interesting for the first three quarters of the book, though the end is good. I liked the second book, but it still was missing something. The third book is where it starts to become good, as it focuses on Talia and her story, her ever after. The fourth is by far the best, and I would recommend it as a standalone even if you didn’t want to read the whole series. It is Snow’s book, and it is exactly what I wanted from the series the entire time. It has a different tone, it is very dark. It is a fairy tale. Hard questions were asked from hard choices, leading to hard decisions with a higher level of consequences. It is much better for it

The series presents itself as a serious story, yet it is joking the entire way through the first two books. It is an almost entirely female cast, yet it feels masculine at first because the jokes feel like typical jokes that appeal to young boys. All of the joking feels very out of place, because it is such a serious story that is being told. Life and death are on the line in every story.

The world contains all of the major fairy tales, and fairies. However, it also adds things, like demons, and other random things. In the beginning, things were added so they added an air of ridiculousness to the series, like the dwarf or gnome or whatever that was who was obsessed with pixies. By book three though, that was toned down, and what was added started becoming good. Like the fae. Always love some good fae.

Overall, I mostly just enjoyed reading the last book, The Snow Queen’s Shadow. I recommend that one the most. If the beginning of the series appeals to someone, the end won’t appeal, and if the end of the series appeals, the beginning won’t. The series is at odds with itself, and doesn’t really know who it wants to attract, unfortunately. I can’t even figure out who to recommend this to, and who not to. The split between start and end is that different.

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