Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Courtesy of Silver Dolphin Books
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

Pages: 320, paperback

ISBN: 9781607102557

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Date Released: April 1st, 2011

Genre: YA / fantasy / choose your own adventure / fairy tale retelling / romance

Source: galley from the publisher

In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read! (Taken from Goodreads)
Buy it now from The Book Depository / Amazon

I didn't realise that this book was a choose your own adventure book until I opened it and started reading. Now, I'm not a fan of those kinds of books. I avoided them as a child, and, though this wasn't as terrible as my childhood experiences, I will continue to avoid them as an adult. I decided to review this, as hard as it was, what with all the different possibilities. Plus, I wasn't going to drop a book for a reason as petty as that. But, this will lower the plot rating significantly, simply because of my preference.

Right off the bat, the story starts awkwardly. At least, for me. There were a few instances where I just stared at the screen going, "wait, what? Really? REALLY?" because some things were just so unbelievable, such as when she trained herself to have uber ninja skills. Not only does the art of the ninja take years to master under the watchful eye of a sensei, but it is an ancient Asian form of martial arts, and from what I could tell from the story, there is no mention of an Asian-esque land at all. Plus, I doubt it would be something that anyone, even if they did have magical powers, to learn out of some book.

The characterisation is odd and questionable at times. The characters switch from speaking formally and talking in a more modern tone. In the beginning, it was difficult to determine what period this was supposed to set it.
Though, thankfully, as the book went on, the characterisation sorted itself out, and proved to be rather enjoyable. The evil step-mother was truly evil, a queen bitch. She just loved tormenting poor Cinderella, and I took great joy in how accurate and realistic her horrid personality was.
Cinderella was sweet, was determined and was strong, which are exceptional characteristics in any story. She had a personal mission to be great, and to escape her step-mother's prison of magic. Her story (or rather, stories) was moving, exciting and incredibly enjoyable.
Cinderella's sisters, in the story that I read, were sometimes contradictory--sometimes being horrid to Cinderella, and sometimes backing her up against their mother. I don't know, it seemed out of place at times, but at the same time, it felt right, as if they were learning their lesson, which I think is excellent, because character growth shouldn't just be for the main character.

In the story that I read, the romance was astounding. I loved the chemistry, and felt it from the very beginning. They cheeky flirts between Cinderella and her love interest was adorable, and truly believable.

Apparently, there are 8 different stories you could read with this choose your own adventure thing, but I didn't have the patience to try out all the different combinations. Now, like I said above, this effects the score. While I can see the appeal, this is just a personal preference, and not something you should adhere to, though I have to admit: choosing your own path makes for an unpredictable turn of events, which is quite interesting at times. I would recommend that you give this a try, especially if you like the possibility of having different outcomes depending on what YOU choose, not what the author chooses (to an extent). This story uses this technique well enough for me to recommend it.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 2
Characters: 3
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 4

Total Rating: 3/5

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