I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
Cinderella is one of those story’s that despite how pathetic it is–and let’s face it being religiously abused everyday while hoping for Prince Charming to come to your rescue is pretty pathetic. Is still surprisingly one of my favorite fairytales.
The Disney movie and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder sort of help.
However, Rosamund Hodge held her own pretty firmly in this short Cinderella retelling.
First and foremost, Hodge made the story original enough where the story itself has been over told time after time. Which is a pretty big accomplishment, considering how many retellings this story has had.
Grant it, the spin she gives it is an obvious PR move to get people read Cruel Beauty, but in this case I think I’ll give it a pass. Especially since it gives a pretty interesting twist and gives a reason why the Cinderella character (Maia) has put up with being treated like shit.
I think Cinderella’s passive attitude has always been one of my biggest problems with the original fairytale. Yes, I get in fairytale times that it was difficult for a woman to have any life outside of her family/marriage. But I’m sure she could at least get a job cleaning houses for some other family, or at the very least talk to some fairytale solicitor about evicting her stepmother. I mean, that would make a lot more sense than waiting for a prince to come your house with a stupid shoe.
So, the fact that Hodge injected some logic to this aspect of the fairytale already gives this novella a huge advantage. But that does not keep it from being faultless.
To be fair to the story, I think a lot of the problems revolve around the fact it’s a novella. Unless you’re really good at the craft, I think most novellas suffer from pacing. This story is no exception.
While I liked the characters that Hodge wrote about and the world she created, I felt like everything was rushed especially the later part of the story.
To be honest though, I don’ t know if this was so much of a problem with the pacing was the fact that this story was limited to the page count of a novella so much or if Hodge in general has a problem with pacing.
I say this because my biggest issue with Cruel Beauty was the pacing. The entire book, much like this story, was great but the ending just seemed to almost have a whiplash effect to it.
I do love the building that Hodge does, especially when it comes to characters. But when it drags down the plot a little bit, there are issues there.
The endings on both works of Hodge seem just so sudden. Almost unresolved. And while I get you don’t have a ton of space, especially in a novella to do a happily ever after, I would like a little more than half a page of resolution.
It’s just like-oh, everything’s okay now. The end.
That just isn’t going to make anyone happy. Even if you like happy endings (which I do).
I really did enjoy this novella for the most part though. The characters were well formed and what was a pretty predictable story was pretty interesting. And I still think that Hodge is probably one of the best debut authors (yet) of 2014. That doesn’t mean this one isn’t without faults though.