Monday, August 16, 2010

CINDERS review and signed-book contest

Fairy tales are often about consequences. Wishes granted, chances taken, deeds done. And then something happens, for better or worse.

In CINDERS, Cinderella is married and living in the castle, but she questions how real this life is and whether her prince truly loves her or is just under a spell. After all, her fairy godmother set the whole thing up.

Cinderella is not only harboring doubts, she's having memories of some other love, elusive and strange. Yes, this Cinderella isn't so sure what she wants now that her original wish has been granted.

Michelle Davidson Argyle has taken the ancient story down a dark future path, following a long tradition of altering fairy tales.

Among the earliest written accounts of Cinderella are 17th century works by Charles Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, long before the Brothers Grimm jotted it down, although the seed of the story may be thousands of years old.

Michelle explores a not-so-happy future for the princess in this novella. It's full of mysteries--both personal secrets and castle intrigues that kept me turning pages, reading for hours straight. I was surprised by twists in the story, as well as horrified at several consequences.

I don't like to read spoilers myself, so I don't give away much plot when I review. The only thing I would have liked was a bit more development of some plot points, which shows I was invested enough to want more. I was very satisfied with Cinderella's final choice. Sometimes, the only thing to do is rise from the ashes.

Here is a writing sample to whet your appetite:

"What have they done to you?" Cinderella saw two images in her mind: the Eolande she had first met in the shadowy darkness of her room--a tall beautiful woman who seemed to be made more of light than anything else, and then, when actual sunlight broke across the horizon, an old woman with cherry-tinged cheeks and a wink in her eye. Neither of these images represented what Cinderella saw now: a skeleton of a woman so thin and aged she looked as if she belonged to the worn stone walls.

I'm awed by Michelle's creative process in making this book. First, she wrote a fresh, riveting take on an old tale. Then she shot the cover art and self-published it, which had been her intent all along. Now, a gorgeous new book exists in the world, and I hope many people discover it. Check out her blog for contests and events surrounding the release. To purchase, you can go to Amazon.

(P.S. I wrote this review late last night and woke up this morning thinking how much I admire the risk Michelle took in writing a main character who is not always likable. Cinderella does some things that made me cringe, but that's what makes her so real.)

I have a signed copy to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment that has something to do with fairy tales. Do you have a favorite? Have you ever re-written one or wanted to? The contest will be open through Friday, Aug. 20.


Unknown said...

I love the re-telling of fairy tales, and my fave one so far is a short story that re-tells Red Riding Hood. It is a dark enough fable, but the re-telling is even darker!

The novel you've reviewed sounds fascinating!

Anne Gallagher said...

My favorite fairy tale has always been Sleeping Beauty. When the kiss kisses beauty awake...magical.

Mary E Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary E Campbell said...

I'm doing a giveaway for Cinders as well. I like your take on it. I'll let my followers know about this contest as well.

Bish Denham said...

This sounds like an interesting book. As for a favorite fairy many to choose from. But if I have to I think I'll go with Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. Makes me cry every time I read it.

Claire Dawn said...

Yay! Another fairy tale retelling! Right now, I'm reading an ARC of Christopher Golden's WHEN ROSE WAKES, which uses the story of Sleeping Beauty as it's base. I think I'll have to add Cinders to my list as well.

Claire Dawn said...

Wait, I was supposed to pick a fave?

I think Cinderella is my fave, unless Peter Pan counts as a fairy tale, and it should, because it is a tale with a fairy :D

storyqueen said...

Well, I am a Sleeping Beauty fan, too, but that is just because in the Disney Version, Prince Phillip is just wonderful and I have had a crush on him since I was six.

Michelle is a very talents girl! Shooting her own cover???? wow.


Char said...

i always love a good re-weaving of a fairy tale. maybe the snow queen because it's so sad.

Jemi Fraser said...

There's something about fairy tales - they're special. I love the magic and the possibilities in them.

The darker edge to the fairy tale would be fun to write!

Unknown said...

Aww, yay for Michelle! And yay for you helping get the word out. It's on my Must Read list.

My fairytale comment: For the past few weeks I've been living one, and it's better then any book I've ever read. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hello and welcome, Damyanti! Cinders is a fascinating new twist on the story. I'm like you in that I never seem to tire of different tellings of fairy tales.

Anne: That is a magic moment. I suppose it could be a metaphor of any awakening by love.

Mary: Thanks for the headsup!

Bish: I don't think I've read the Happy Prince. I shall have to rectify that!

Claire: Oh, another new one! More fun for future reading. I'll certainly check that out.

Shelley: Yes! She not only shot it, her friend made the costume and modeled. So creative.

Char: Ah, the Snow Queen. Fairy tales are definitely not all about happily into the sunset.

Jemi: That's a great idea--the possiblities in them. They do leave many doors open to explore.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen: Oooooo, I'm dying to know what magic is happening??? If anyone deserves to live a happy fairy tale, it's you.

Donna said...

Love the Cinderella tale in all its tellings. I'm glad you alerted us to this one.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Thank you so much for this interview, Tricia! I'm so excited that you liked it, and I love your views on the story, as well!

Confession: I would have liked more development, too! But I had to stick to my novella length, and that made it impossible.

Thanks, again! Can't wait to see who wins the book!

Paul C said...

I like the balance of fantasy and angst. Sounds like an interesting read.

The Words Crafter said...

This sounds like a pretty good read, I'll have to check it out. I like most forms of Beauty and the Beast. I used to love the tv show....and I also loved Ever After....

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: I guess we love the idea of being plucked out of the slush pile, so to speak, in that tale. ;)

Hi, Michelle! It was my pleasure and honor to review it. Wonderful book.

Paul: It surely is, because it brings very real insecurities into the mix. Toss in some magic, and sparks are flying.

Words Crafter: Oh, I loved Ever After. I guess we never outgrow these tales and that's why they've been around so long.

Sena said...

I love Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty! But my fav fairytale retelling would be The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale!

Talli Roland said...

I like this concept - that Cinderella is actually a multi-dimensional character! I can't think of a fairytale I'd like to retell... hmm, maybe Hansel and Gretel?

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent interview. How'd I miss this? I was here on Monday. I bet I visited before you posted this. This book is on my must purchase and read list as soon as the hubby says, "Okay, buy the book." :)

Feeding horses and such can get just a tad costly. *grin*

I agree with your last comment, too. Cinderella is so real, because she does do things that make us cringe.

My fairy tale comment is, I want to live my dream of being a real PUBLISHED author and ride my horses while reading my book. Though by the time it gets published I'll probably be sick of reading it. ;)

Congrats Glam. Can't wait to read it. *hugs Pat*

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Thank you, everyone! And Robyn, even though Cinders is published, I still don't get tired of reading it...although I might as soon as I start writing another one. :)

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Wow...major risk, but very brave! Sounds like a remarkable story. I love the twist on the age old fairy tale. And she did the cover art herself? Amazing.

Slushpile Slut said...

What a cool premise for a book!! I think Cinders will be my new fave fairy tale. Nice job Michelle & great giveaway Tricia!!

Unknown said...

Love the cover! Curious as to how a person gets a self-published book available for sale on Amazon? I thought that distribution was one of the problems self-publishers faced?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Sena: I loved Shannon Hale's Goose Girl, too.

Talli: Yes, Michelle gave Cinderella depth and desires. Why does Hansel and Gretel not surprise me? Would you have recipes? ;)

Robyn: I actually posted early Tuesday morning but Blogger put the post time as the time I started the draft. *sigh*
Ah, you're right the bestest fairy tale would be to hold our books in our hands.

Michelle: I think your love of the tale shines through, which is why you probably still love it yourself. It's such a fresh story.

Carol: Yup. A risk that may someday pay off. It's a good book, so who knows what will happen.

Hi and welcome Slush. :D Cinders is worthy of becoming a fav.

Elle: Michelle is an excellent photographer. She planned this whole venture so well.
I'll let her answer the Amazon question, since she's done it and I haven't.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oooh exciting. I love the bane of the book too. Congrats on getting the book out there Michelle. Thanks for the post Tricia :)

Unknown said...

Just coming by to day dream about this fabulous book! For some reason I thought I already commented on it but apparently I didn't! I'd love to snag a copy of this fabulous book!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Tab! I'm glad you're into it, but what's bane of the book? *scratches head*

Jen: Hi, glad you came by!

Hannah said...

I'm rewriting a fairy tale right now for Emily's Fairytale Blogfest/Contest. I never focused on a particular story though.

Angela Ackerman said...

I think this is brilliant, looking beyond the fairytale. Thanks for hosting the contest!

I've never rewritten one, but I think if I did, it would be Hansel and Gretel. What if the witch was really trying to do the world a favor, getting rid of some child psychopaths after their parents failed to kill them off by leaving them to the not-so-tender mercies of the forest and its toothy inhabitants?


Amanda Borenstadt said...

Oh, I love rewritten fairy tales! :)
I want this book!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hannah: Great! Sounds like fun.

Angela: 'Tis indeed quite brilliant. :)
Oh, you zombie girl, such a tale!

Amanda: Hi and consider yourself entered!

Anyone coming along today. I'll be out but will get back to everyone tomorrow. Have a fab day.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

It sounds like a great story! I love fairy tales, and Cinderella is one of my favorites. I also love the dwarfs in Snow White. :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

This one sounds great! I've always liked Rapunzel and Rumpelstilskin, but my daughter adores Sleeping Beauty.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

@Elle Amazon has their own print-on-demand publishing arm, CreateSpace. After researching all different kinds of POD publishers, CreateSpace seems to be the best quality for the price - and they are fantastic with service.

Liza said...

I have always been partial to Rumplestilskin...

Suzanne Casamento said...

Congratulations to Michelle on the fine work and for having the guts to put it out there.

Cinders sounds like a great read. I'll have to buy a copy and support her.

Anonymous said...

I love Cinderella and think it's great how people come up with different ideas for the old fairytales. Bookcovers nowadays are stunning.

holdenj said...

Actually, Cinderella re-tellings are some of my favorites! I also always like Snow White and Rose Red, about the two sisters, not the one with the dwarves! Thanks for the info and chance to win.

Tere Kirkland said...

Been looking forward to this one. Great contest, Pat!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Shannon! I still remember a gorgeously drawn Snow White edition that told I think the Grimm version, where the wicked queen had to wear hot iron shoes after the truth came out. That's an image that sticks to you!

Stephanie: I love Rapunzel, too, probably because I never could grow my hair very long. I read a neat rewrite of that story called GOLDEN by Cameron Dokey.

Michelle, thanks for sharing that POD tip.

Liza: Good one--tricksy little fellow.

Suzanne: It is gutsy, but also meticulously planned. This really is a fine book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Niki: Michelle's artistic eye is evident in that cover. She's got multiple talents.

Hi Holden: Agreed. Love that version.

Tere: Thanks! This has been fun, and the book is so worth reading.