Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty Universe) by Rosamund Hodge

A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale,Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author's debut novel, Cruel Beauty.

Orphan Maia doesn't see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia's father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they'll all be struck dead by the curse.

Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn't believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What's the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she'll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.

As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn't believe in love. Anax can't help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can't help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother's deadly bargain?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

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After I read Cruel Beauty I needed to read something short and this novella seemed like the perfect choice. A choice that definitely did not disappoint! I enjoyed it even more than Cruel Beauty. The reason for that is most likely because the story progressed a lot faster since it's a novella. And that was exactly what I was in the mood for. Since my mind still lingered in the Cruel Beauty universe I couldn't have picked anything else that would have suited me better. What I loved the most about Gilded Ashes was probably the fact that it was short and the action parts followed each other quite quickly, if you can call them 'action' parts. I have to admit Cinderella isn't one of my favourite fairy tales. I always thought she was kind of boring. However, since reading Cinder and Gilded Ashes I already like her a lot better.
I like Rosamund Hodge's writing style and originality. You never know how her stories will end, even though they're based on famous fairy tales. I love the fact that they're so much darker than their originals and I'm looking forward to reading Crimson Bound, her next book that comes out in May but I'll probably will have to wait a while before it comes out in paperback.

I highly recommend this original retelling of Cinderella if you enjoyed Cruel Beauty or Cinder by Marissa Meyer than this is a must read for you! 

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