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The stepsister scheme by Jim C. Hines

The stepsister scheme (edition 2009)

by Jim C. Hines

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Title:The stepsister scheme
Authors:Jim C. Hines
Info:New York : DAW Books, 2009.
Collections:Your library

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The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

  1. 20
    Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (SockMonkeyGirl)
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    The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey (Murphy-Jacobs)
    Murphy-Jacobs: Classic fairy tales and folk legends pushed, pulled, and twisted about into tales of romance and adventure. Good sense of humor in both books, and plenty of strong, competent female characters.
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1 ( )
  PhotoS | Feb 17, 2014 |
I've got to admit, I wasn't that impressed with "Goblin Quest" - it felt too much like a D&D campaign, but I thoroughly enjoyed "The Stepsister Scheme". What's special about this book? Hines takes the traditional Disney princesses we all know and vomit over, but bases their histories on the original fairy tales (very few of which end well), and then turns them into "Charlie's Angels" with more trolls and magic.

Hines keeps the plot moving with plenty of action, and not a lot of reflection. I was disappointed they didn't go into the character's back stories more. Most of us don't know the real fairy tales, and I know that Hines did his research. The character's histories only come out in snippets - Sleeping Beauty reveals her heartless nature comes from her victimization, Snow White's flirty nature with the Woodsman who died for her, and Cinderella's story continues after the prince puts the glass slipper on.

The only other problem I had was that the male types were A) missing for the majority of the story (being kidnapped) or B) drunken gnomes, evil trolls, suggestion-susceptible goblins, or the like. This is a common complaint about a lot of feminist literature, and it surprised me coming from a book written by a man. I understand the desire to make a story female-centric, but that doesn't mean men don't exist or all evil. I don't want a Bosley, and I don't want a "Sailor Moon" Tuxedo Man. I'm not sure what I want, but I know what I don't want. I guess it's one of the trappings of the genre.

But the characters are damn fun, and the story is damn fun. ( )
  theWallflower | Nov 4, 2013 |
This is the first of four Princess books written by Hines. Previously I read Hines Jig the Goblin series and enjoyed it. This book has a lot of humor and is heartfelt, it was a cute read with a predictable, yet engaging plot.

I listened to this on audiobook and it was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of doing individual character voices and conveying emotion.

Danielle (aka Cinderella) marries the Prince Armand. Things are going dreamily for them until Danielle’s stepsister tries to murder her and Danielle finds out that Armand has gone missing into Fairy Town. This is the point where Danielle finds out that the Queen has some secret agents of a sort in Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow White. Both are have their own special abilities and are going to assist Danielle in rescuing Armand.

This was a fun read of a mishmash of fairy tales. I enjoyed it alot. It would probably be okay for young adult, but the characters are adults and do discuss adult issues. For example Danielle talks a bit about how much fun her and Armand had on her wedding night. There is also some subtle discussion about the rape about one of the female characters.

Danielle is admittedly not trained in rescue missions. I liked that she was caring and loving but determined to help rescue her husband. I also love that she had to undergo some training to use her sword (and wasn’t instantly proficient with it).

Snow White and Talia are also engaging characters who have their own heart-wrenching pasts and tales. Hines doesn’t shy away from the dark side of these fairy tales. He does a very good job of making believable characters who have survived living past the tragedies that these classical fairy tales visited upon them.

The characters have a lot of heart and I loved the idea of our favorite fairy tale heroines being the active rescuers. The whole book tips these fairy tales on their heads a bit. As a reader we are forced to think about how someone might actually deal with the fallout from these crazy fairy tales.

The plot is well done and full of intrigue, dark magic, evil stepsisters, and even more evil sorcerers. It is a fun and engaging read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Everything is nicely tied up at the end of this book.

Overall a fun read. I really enjoyed it. It is a fun and light fairy tale retelling for adults. The characters have a surprising amount of heart and depth to them as well. I loved how the fairy tales were mashed together and how we got to see what happens after the fairy tales we know have ended. I am uncertain right now if I will read the remaining books in this series. While I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t spectacularly awesome...it was just cute and fun. Recommended to those who enjoy fairy tale retellings with some spunk to them. ( )
  krau0098 | Sep 29, 2013 |
Cinderella, (Danielle) has her Happily Ever After. She’s married to her prince, Armand, she lives in the palace. Everything seems wonderful.

But the stepsisters haven’t give up and gone away just because Danielle made it down the aisle with her prince. And after an aborted assassination attempt on Danielle, Armand has gone missing and the sisters are clearly implicated.

Thankfully, Danielle is not without resources – especially since her new mother-in-law, Queen Beatrice has been collecting extraordinary young women with amazing talents to help find her lost son Danielle doesn’t step out alone – but with the lethally skilled Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and the magically gifted Snow (Snow White). Even though it takes them to the depths of fairy land, they will find her Prince.

There’s something so delightfully fun about retelling fairy tales that we all know so very well. Especially taking the often passive princesses and re-writing the story to make them the saviour and the Prince the one in peril for once. I love the application of cynical realism to these fairy tales – especially how the Happily Ever After could never ever be that neat. How could Cinderella so quickly transition from being a servant to being a princess? How can Sleeping Beauty go to sleep for a hundred years and not expect her kingdom to have been taken over and her legend be exploited and controlled? That her throne would just be waiting for her when she woke up? And could Snow White really kill her mother who has been Queen for how long and expect to step into her shoes without any political support or allies? Things are not nearly as neat as fairy tales require them to be. Or that the villains don’t just go away because they’ve been defeated, it’s not so simple.

I also love the reinterpretation of the tales. What Talia does with her dancing gift from the fey. I love Snow’s dwarfs - that was definitely something I didn’t expect – and Snow using mirrors for magic. It’s some excellent developments of the core fairy tales, adding reality and depth to these shallow tales.

Naturally this makes the world a very fun one, just expanding on the fairy tale worlds then adding vast variety and possibility from the fairy kingdom alone makes it one with vast potential. And because it has been found with a sense of cynical politics, there’s a greater level of humanity and realism than such a magical setting would suggest.

The plot itself is rather linear, but then this is an adventure quest on which the fate of the kingdom rests. There really isn’t time for side-quests or distractions nor is there ever any question about whodunit , only really how and why – and, more importantly, how to get the prince back. It’s decently paced with lots of appropriate exposition without getting too distracted along the way. Perhaps a little long windedness here and there or moments that could have moved faster, but I’m nitpicking more than anything. It could have been faster – but that doesn’t mean it was slow, long winded or dragging.

I was happy to see that one of the princesses, Talia, was both a POC (including with her own culture and her own cuisine) and that she was a Lesbian. The downside on both is that, of course, she was focused on someone else’s Happily Ever After (but then, so was Snow), that she was the only POC and foreign – so POC is the external other and, of course, as a Lesbian she has both an unrequited love on a straight woman (though I still loved that scene) and is a victim of rape. There’s a really nasty trope that Lesbians in particular and GBLT people in general are GBLT because of a terrible experience with the opposite sex and though there’s no link drawn in the text.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
I have just got to say, I loved this series. Completely original twist on the old favorites. Highly recommended! ( )
  Mirkwood | May 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Sometimes There Are Men Who Get It Right This author is proof that men can actually grok the full humanity of le deuxième sexe, and write it into their fictional worlds. without having the female characters come across as either absent, ciphers, stereotypes, or sex-fantasies.

You all know about Jim Hines, I expect? The Stepsister Scheme, The Mermaid’s Madness, Red Hood’s Revenge? (What, is that a no in the audience? I’m shocked, simply shocked.) His novels are fairly feminist and usually a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing if Libriomancer continues in the same vein.

added by feeling.is.first | editTor.com, Liz Bourke (Sep 11, 2012)
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To Skylar
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Danielle Whiteshore, formerly Danielle de Glas, would never be a proper princess. Not if the title required her to actually remember so many trifling details.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: 'And they all lived happily ever after...' Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella--whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas)--does marry Prince Armand. And...their wedding is a dream come true. But not long after the 'happily ever after,' Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia--otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty--comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away..."--p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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