Release Date: February 24th 2011
Charm is a curse. Love is a fire. This story is no fairytale.Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost.Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm.Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.
An original spin on a age old tale
Ember is easily one of the most unique retellings I've ever had the pleasure to read. It had it's faults but the idea behind it was so refreshingly original.
Out of all the Disney princesses out there, Cinderella is my second least favorite (Snow White will always have first place on that list) because she seemed incredibly docile and her.. prince.. was well boring. For crying out loud his name was Prince Charming. And I am just putting this out there, I didn't connect the dots between his name and Prince Charming until recently so it's still a big deal to me. I mean imagine him hanging out with other guys. "HEY MAN, CHARMING, WADDUP". I am getting ahead of myself here. Going back to what I was saying, I love the idea behind it, because what girl wouldn't, but Disney didn't pull of the tale as well as they could have. Sharpe, however, did.
She puts a very original spin on the tale, one I cannot help but love. The tale is dark, it isn't full of rainbows and flowers but instead is full of witchcraft and curses.
It would be appropriate to start off with our Prince Charming. Of course in this case that isn't actually his name. People refer to him as that because he can literally charm the pants off of anyone. Everyone falls in love with him as soon as they see him. He has the power to stop wars just by appearing in front of the enemy. And like every other guy out there (or.. that I've read about) he wants the one woman who won't have him. The one woman who can see through his facade. Before I carry on, you should know, this was a curse (or gift) given to him at birth, everyone knows the tale, they just forget about it when they set eyes on him since they are so enamored by his supposed beauty. Ember, however, sees his charm for what it is, a facade which allows the Prince to always get his way.
Ember falls victim his charm as a young girl of 19 but her dying mother gives her a charm that will lessen the effects of the Prince's dreadful curse. Ember was a damn strong female lead. I have to give her that. But she could also be incredibly dense. It took her a damn long time to realize what was going on between her and Raid. I admired her spirit but I was bothered by how she couldn't pick up on such an obvious fact. I admired how she wasn't willing to just let the curse take over, she wanted to save herself and she'd do anything to achieve that.
The most interesting spin on this book was the step-mother and sisters. They are whores. But the 4 of them got along pretty well. It was the relationship between these 4 women that shined out to me. I'll admit that one of the things I DON'T like about Cinderella's tale was the step family. They treat her horribly in the original tale and I cannot quite understand how her father never saw through that. Luckily, we were spared from that nonsense. It was a relief to see how the 4 of them would do anything for one another. Their relationship was beautiful.
The romance was surprisingly good as well. This isn't a book, it's more like a novella. That usually doesn't leave room for a romance to develop and things just seem.. 'insta'. That wasn't the case here. It went from attraction, which lead to a relationship, which in turn led to love. I am still a little shaky on the why/how/when of 'Raid's' feelings but the romance itself was decent.
The plot. Yeah that needed some working. It was good but there were something things that were a little iffy. The story was too short, it could have easily been fleshed out and delivered on a lot of promises. There were some plot holes as well which could have been filled and it could have been as creepy as it promised to be.
The ending didn't work for me. I wanted something else but it'll do. It wasn't horrible, it was just not what I wanted.
Needless to say this is a great addition to all those wonderful retellings out there. With it's great prose and original spin it is definitely worth reading.