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Reviewed by Jaqueline Neves for Readers' Favorite
The Ugly Stepsister (Reimagined Fairy Tales Book 2) by Megan Van Dyke is a captivating twist on the classic fairytale we all know and love. In this reimagined story, Cinderella is not the innocent, downtrodden maiden we've come to expect. Instead, the narrative follows Anna, who holds the key to the shocking truth about Cinderella. When Anna's family is unjustly imprisoned under Cinderella's rule, she takes on the guise of a young man named Ansel, determined to free her loved ones and expose Cinderella's dark side. Along the way, she crosses paths with Will, a former royal huntsman with his own score to settle. Their shared desire for vengeance against the queen leads to a thrilling plot filled with unexpected twists and turns.
Megan Van Dyke skillfully weaves a compelling narrative, masterfully balancing plot, pace, action, characters, and themes. The plot is an inventive reimagining of a beloved fairytale and a well-executed adventure that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The story's pace is perfectly calibrated, never allowing the tension to wane, and the action sequences are both heart-pounding and vividly described. The characters are deeply developed and relatable, with Will and Ansel creating a captivating and endearing duo. The themes explored, such as the price of vengeance and the power of forgiveness, add depth and thought-provoking layers to the story. In The Ugly Stepsister (Reimagined Fairy Tales Book 2), Van Dyke delivers an enthralling narrative that skillfully combines the familiar with the unexpected, making it a must-read for anyone looking for a fresh take on a timeless romantic fairy tale.