Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: The Stepsister Scheme

The Stepsister Scheme
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went into this book with high expectations. After all, I love new takes on fairy tales, I love stories where the heroine saves the guy, and humor is always a plus. This book has not just one strong female lead, but three, with several more supporting female characters that make it clear this fairy tale world is not one where women sit by and wait to be rescued.

I wasn't disappointed in this book, either. It's a fun take on what happens after "happily ever after." The powers and abilities of the princesses evolve in a logical and organic way, and didn't feel forced.

Still, it was not a perfect book. It felt like the first 2/3rds were world-building and establishing character, with the last third where the action took place. We got a couple of warnings in the narrative that things were about to get exciting, then it took off.

What was odd was the trouble I had with reading the exciting parts quickly. There were narrative stumbling-blocks that forced my eyes to slow down or go back to reread. Hines includes some rich detail in the middle of action scenes, which led to a confusing narrative. Other scenes had me losing track of characters or wondering why someone was just standing there and watching things unfold.

The characters were compelling and interesting, and I want to know what they get up to in the future. I really hope, though, that the pacing issue is smoothed over, and that the action is less confusing to read.

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