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Charm Hardcover – 18 Jul 2013
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Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it a refreshing variation on the original template. (Pete Tennant Black Static)
It's Cinderella, but not as you know her...See all Product description
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The characters are real. Their situations and actions make sense. There are no villains to boo or hiss at. The "wicked" stepmother isn't, she is stressed, full of regrets for how her turned out, trying to do the best for her daughters (but also using them to fulfil her dreams). Those sisters aren't ugly, just (perhaps) a bit plan. The Fairy Godmother has her own agenda. The Prince is a bit wet. Cinders herself has a distinctly selfish side. It's all really, really believable, extremely readable, funny in places and also sad. Above all it feels true (even when a Mouse becomes a Man). I'm not sure I know of another author who would move in a blink from the position of the independent Press in a fairytale kingdom (precarious) to a mouse bargaining for freedom with the witch who cursed him (creepy) to the fairytale heroine taking time out in a relaxing bath for a bit of pleasure with herself (sensual). If there is one I doubt they'd manage it all anything like as well.
I think, though, that it would be lazy, and missing the point, to call this book "more of the same". To me, it is actually a step up from "Poison" - as a (sort of) sequel to the earlier book, the characters (or at least, some of them) have a history from the earlier book to live down, and there is a prospect of redemption here, though nothing is certain or easy, and there's definitley no assurance of a "happy ever after".
I know that a third book - Beauty - is due later this year (presumably a treatment of "Sleeping Beauty?") , and I'm desperate to see how Pinborough rounds off this series (well, if she does - there are lots more fairy stories that could be given this treatment, of course).
Once again we are treated to wicked humour, caustic observations and very human and flawed people, rather than Disney caricatures. This is not Panto!
Like Poison this is erotic and daring, again making the statement: Be careful what you wish for.
There are clearly consequences for every choice and action. I enjoyed how Pinborough has interwoven plot strands and characters into this adventure; it's all very subtle and of course, very clever.
Inventive, with lots of surprises, unexpected developments and a modern take on an old theme, this will please fans of Poison. I will certainly never think of Cinderella in the same way again!
Charm has everything you know about the Cinderalla fairytale: two ugly(ish) stepsisters, a Prince, a fairy godmother and a glass slipper. What it doesn't have is a sugary sweet happy ending courtesy of Disney, which is one of the reasons I love these books so much. They're dark, twisted and a little bit naughty - not at all what you'd imagine these fairytales to be like.
To top it all off, Sarah Pinborough's writing is ridiculously good: elegant and effortless while all the time maintaining a certain sense of foreboding and unease. A certain scene in Charm involving a little toe is rather on the shocking side, but it just goes to show how truly dark this author can be. These are not fairytales as we know and love them, but wow are they a welcome change of pace!
Charm's pages are filled with delightful characters and wicked imagery that leaves an unsettling feeling in its wake. It's well-written, addictive, sharp, everything I could possibly want from a book. Beauty is published in mid-October and I am literally counting down the days. I want it and I want it now!
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I related more to this story than the other two, and the pace was quicker and kept me...Read more