Thursday, 17 September 2015

Reviewing the Evidence Time Again - Charm by Sarah Pinborough

Title: Charm (US Link)
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Romance
Series: Tales From the Kingdom (#2)

A few starting notes:

Even though this is the second book in Sarah Pinborough's Tales From the Kingdom series, it's not really a sequel as such. Oh, I'm sure there are elements which tie-in with the other books of the series, but I haven't read any of the others, and can confirm that this can certainly be taken as a stand-alone book.

Premise:

Handsome prince? Check. Magic? Check. Ball? Check. Fairy godmother? Urm... there's a bit more to that one. Cinderella? Well, yeah... but she's a bit... different. So, come to think of it, are the step-sisters, and the happily ever after deal is quite complex... This is a fairy-tale, sure, but are you ready for it?

Best bits:

I love the whole inter-weaving fairy-tale world that Sarah Pinborough has created - it's full of magic, but also a creepy gothic-ness that creeps into everything.

I also really admire anyone who can bring a zing of freshness to a tale that's been told so many times - and Pinborough does, by showing that even in fairy-tales, reality is different to what you were expecting.

The illustrations give a welcome portion of gothic pizzazz to the mix, and the book is most definitely readable. I finished it in a matter of days, and found it oh-so-easy to pick up and read, and not so easy to put down again.

Not so great bits:

A lot of people will find the degree of naughtiness going on here jarring when compared to the squeaky Disney-clean image of Cinderella et. al. they were provided with in childhood. Some may even find it distasteful - I'm honestly not all that bothered, since it didn't really get in the way of the plot, but a lot of people won't like Cinders erring towards debauchery!

I know this is fantasy - own world, own rules, etc. But, the main thing that bothered me here was that I felt I couldn't get a good enough feel for the setting - was this medieval levels of technology and styles of fashion, or closer to Victorian? I just couldn't get a handle on it.

Verdict:

Ahhh, this is a book for the ladies (and the men who are secure with their identities.) Grab a cuppa, a cat, and a blanket (and maybe some chocolate? Yes?) and enjoy the hell out of it.

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