Gilded Ashes

Another long-overdue book review, the first draft saved April 16. Well, I get distracted.

I won a copy of Rosamund Hodge’s new ebook, Gilded Ashes, from Darwin Catholic’s giveaway. I’d have bought it for sure if I hadn’t won.

As you might have been able to guess from the title, Gilded Ashes is a retelling of the Cinderella story and it’s set in the same world as Cruel Beauty. (See my Cruel Beauty review here.)

If you’ve read Cruel Beauty, you won’t at all be surprised that while this retelling maintains many of the markers of the original tale, so that you are certain what the source material is, it also deviates boldly. I loved the way Cruel Beauty twisted together strands from several different traditions and was hoping for more of the same. However, Gilded Ashes is a much shorter story so there’s less room for mash ups. It had the same Greek-myth setting as Cruel Beauty and of course draws heavily from the Grimm fairy tale material. Also a little Twelfth Night twist that I loved, but if there were any other literary homages I missed them.

As in Cruel Beauty, the ending was happy but not unmixed. I like that. Unambiguously happy endings often feel false to me. Although ultimately we are all heading for the ultimate in happy endings, our temporal experience of life isn’t really like that: you can’t avoid suffering and the effects of sin linger. Some mistakes leave scars, poor choices can’t be undone, and the sins of the parents are often visited on their children.

Anyway, this is a story I want to come back and read again. It was funny that the day after I finished it I found myself reading Bella and Sophie the Cinderella story in The Blue Fairy Book.

Oh and Rosamond Hodge is definitely shaping up to be one of my new favorite fantasy writers.

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