Goodreads: Cinder & Glass
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Giveaway from Penguin
Published: March 8, 2022
1682. The king sends out an invitation to all the maidens in France: their presence is requested at a number of balls and events that will be held in honor of the dashing Prince Louis, who must choose a bride.
Cendrillon de Louvois has more grace, beauty, and charm than anyone else in France. While she was once the darling child of the king’s favorite adviser, her father’s death has turned her into the servant of her stepmother and cruel stepsisters–and at her own chateau, too!
Cendrillon–now called Cinder–manages to evade her stepmother and attend the ball, where she catches the eye of the handsome Prince Louis and his younger brother Auguste.
Even though Cendrillon has an immediate aversion to Louis, and a connection with Auguste, the only way to escape her stepmother is to compete with the other women at court for the Prince’s hand.
Soon, as Cendrillon glows closer to Auguste and dislikes the prince more and more, she will have to decide if she can bear losing the boy she loves in order to leave a life she hates.
Melissa de la Cruz takes a lush, romantic hand to this retold fairy tale classic.
Cinder & Glass strikes me as the type of book I would have enjoyed reading as an actual teen, a time both when the YA market wasn’t as saturated with wildly good, sweeping fantasy as it is now and when my own personal standards for being impressed weren’t so high, purely because I hadn’t read as many books as I have now that I’m older. That is, Cinder & Glass is a perfectly good, serviceable retelling of “Cinderella” that will be a fun, light read for someone who likes “Cinderella” retellings, but it just isn’t particularly memorable and doesn’t add any really original twists to the story.
This is a nice choice for readers wondering where all the “lower YA” has gone, in a market that seems dominated by really dark and mature YA books. If you want a light romance that mostly sticks to kissing and a book that has obstacles and set-backs for the protagonists but that doesn’t delve deep into cruelty, abuse, exploitation, dark magic, etc., then this is definitely a book to look into. It is, truly, simply a retelling of “Cinderella” set in 17th-century France, following the basic storyline one would expect. The main spin-off is that the second half of the book, instead of featuring simply a ball, involves a bit of a “contest” among various women the prince might pick for his wife (imagine something along the lines of The Selection).
I am on the fence about the pacing of the book, however, and whether things like the eligible maiden contest and the romances in general felt rushed. Part of me thinks they are; part of me appreciates a nice YA standalone that just gets the job done and wrapped out, rather than drawing everything out into a dramatic and lengthy trilogy. This is another reason the book reminds me of the YA published when I was a teen myself and why I think it works nicely as a lower YA recommendation.
So . . . this book is fine; my biggest problem is that I don’t have much to say about it beyond that. It fills a niche I think has been left empty in the current YA market for some time, so if you have a job where you recommend books to others, this is worth keeping in mind. If you are personally an avid reader of YA fantasy and retellings, this one is not likely to stand out to you.
You must be logged in to post a comment.