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Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: Cinderella Dressed In Ashes (The Grimm Diaries #2)

Release Date: August 15, 2013
Author: Cameron Jace
Publisher: J A W I G I (I Think)
Length: 253 pages
Source: Purchased eBook

Loki is controlled by the Queen through his Dreamhunter's Fleece, and he's now Snow White's enemy. No one's sure what the Queen of Sorrow wants to do next, and what her plans with Sorrow are.

In another Dreamory, they learn who Cinderella really is, where she came from, her relationship with Snow, and what historical period she'd affected with what she calls the Forbidden Art.

The Second installment of the Grimm Diaries.

This Diary continues the adventure, from Snow White's POV.

  

Review:

Protagonists: One of the things I really enjoyed about this story was that we really got to see from multiple perspectives, unfortunately, none of those were Loki, but honestly, in the end, I didn't care about not exploring his story further in this tale. The first main POV we get to see from is Snow/Shew who takes center stage in this story of her connection to the Cinderella character comes to light. I have to say that I did like Snow's character development better than Loki's. While Loki mostly glided through his story not really doing much and leaving the heavy lifting to everyone else until near the very end, Snow took less time to start to take control of her life. Granted it still took her longer than I wanted but when she did things really began to heat up. The other characters we see are Axle and Fable, stuck in the Waking World trying to help Snow and Loki. There still really isn't all that much character development with these two. I feel like the things they did by the end were things they would have done at the beginning of the series and Axle is a wealth of Deus Ex Machina information and theories that just so happen to be correct, and yet never feeling truly earned.

Writing: Much like with the first installment, my biggest criticism is the writing. This book has so much potential, and really this book feels like a fantastic first draft, but it's seriously unpolished and really needed to go through some critical beta readers and a professional editor. It's not just that there's bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and typing errors. While he's getting better, the author still does a lot of telling instead of showing in this story and sometimes he has way too many extraneous details. There are still characters who just show up and know things or remember every little detail of stories that they really shouldn't have perfect recall on, there are huge Deus Ex Machina moments, some that make sense, but others that just feel unnecessary. The author still feels like he doesn't quite know his target audience, though I think some of that is using more general words for much grander things and having things come off a bit basic and more aligned with a Middle-Grade story than a YA one, though he still uses cheesy terminology which definitely skews more MG.

World Building: Once again, the thing I feel holds the most promise in this story is how the author weaves history with fairy tales and classic stories. However, there were definitely a few times in this book that things got needlessly complicated and convoluted instead of the complexity that I'm sure the author was going for. The Cinderella in this story, Cyrenè, isn't just "Cinderella" I won't tell you all who she is, but there's a fairy tale that she's connected to that just doesn't quite seem to fit with the theme the author was try to ascribe to her. Also, classic stories got more involved in this world with explanations that, while interesting, just made the story feel cluttered. Since we're in Snow's Dreamory, we see things from her past and learn more about her background, but since she has control of her actions in the dream, it's hard to know what's really happened and what Snow changed from her story.

Predictability: Something I feel this author needs to understand is that foreshadowing is a great friend to an author. The thing is, you can make stuff up as you go along, but you need to be able to introduce it in some small way earlier in the story so that readers think you're playing by your own rules, and while you can break your own rules once or twice for special occasions, breaking them for next to no reason isn't a good idea. There were a few new concepts in this story that were introduced with no preamble and everything about them just felt chaotic and tacked on, as opposed to a living and breathing part of this world. There are for sure some fantastic moments in this story when the author gets the foreshadowing just right and brings everything together for an amazing twist or moment, but the times when he didn't, or couldn't in the cases of things that should have been teased in the first book, really didn't help the book.

Ending: So, as far as I can tell this is the second book in a four-book series. I know the prequels exist, but, again, as far as I can tell this plot that was started in the first book will only last two more books and that troubles me. As of the end of this book, I feel there is still so much to explore in this time and plot, and that's just with the story started in the first book, that's not even counting the story started in this one or the other stories that this book promised. Do I think the author can tie up all his loose ends in just two books, sure, but I'm afraid it would have to be extremely rushed and I don't know how effective it could be if he does. The climax to this book brings many new questions and theories and while the book ends with a startling cliffhanger and a puzzle for readers to solve, I feel like we're just at the beginning of a much larger and more expansive tale.

Rating:


Much like the first installment, this story holds so much promise and if things were polished up I bet this story could truly shine. The author's writing is marginally better in this installment, which only makes me hope more that he'll revisit and revise this series at some point because I feel that I can see this world's potential and I want it to reach that potential so badly.

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