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Ember by Bettie Sharpe

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Rated 7.96 out of 10 Statistics

Information

Genre: Romance / Fantasy

Audience: Female, Adult

Updated: Completed

Content Advisory

Occasional Sexual Content

Occasional Coarse Language

Occasional Violence

Statistics

Overall Rating: 7.961

Average Rating: 9.4 (Guests), 8.53 (Members)

Ranking: #7

Rating Count: 10 (5 Guests, 5 members)

1 indicates a weighted rating.

"a fairy tale as it should be"

Rating: 9 / 10

Ember is a twisted, dark-edged story; a fairy tale as it should be, with all the gory bits left in.

I raced through the story, read it all in one sitting. It’s short and engaging, and written in a conversational first-person that draws the reader right in. And—let’s be honest—any story that opens with the words “sucker punched” has me at “suck”.

The premise intrigued me. Ember is a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, but with some major differences, the most important one being that the characters are actually well-rounded.

Picture this: Prince Charming is a cursed man who is adored and respected by everyone he meets, never having to work to gain said adoration. Enter the Witch, a woman who is determined to resist Prince Charming’s curse. Does it come as any surprise that the Prince will end up wanting exactly what he can’t have?

Yes, the romance element is strong. And this is definitely not a kid’s book: there are bloody bits, and sexy bits, and gross bits. But that is what gives the story its character, makes it shine. It’s human, it’s real.

As a matter of fact, what really made the story for me was how human Ember—the main character—was. She is flawed, she is wicked, she can be headstrong and ruthless. This is no demure lady waiting to be rescued; Ember knows what she wants, and is not afraid to fight to get it. That said, there were a couple moments when I wanted to slap Ember for being so silly.

The other strength of this tale was the subtle integration of fairy tale mythology into it all, the ironic references, the little twists on familiar folklore. The universe is really well-developed, and I would love to see more of it.

The writing has the simple beauty of a fairy tale, unadorned but with the occasionally surprising turn of phrase that caught me by surprise.

Perhaps my only complaint is that the plot was a little predictable. The main plot twist—the one that pushes the story onwards—is revealed to the reader far before Ember figures it out, meaning that the narrative lost a lot of its potential suspense and intrigue.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed reading the story, and even had a tear or two in my eye at one point. But the tale would have been far more gripping if I hadn’t known all along how things would end.

In sum: Recommended for fairy-tale lovers and sceptics alike, this is a dark, entertaining story, ideal for a evening at home when you’re looking for a little escape.

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"The best Fairy tales are twisted..."

Rating: 8 / 10

Ember presents a twisted retelling of the Cinderella story, but does so with an original voice, intense imagery, and a memorable heroine whose moral compass is perfectly skewed. The piece is novella length, which leaves a little wiggle room in the character department. There are some side stories presented which leave me wondering if the author has expanded on them in other works (Sylvie and her Beast perhaps?) and I definitely look forward to the story of Nieves I saw posted on her site, I cannot wait to see what she does with a Snow White retelling. This was a satisfying adult themed fairy tale, it kept a good balance between it's erotic scenes and storytelling, which is vital in a shorter piece. The ending did irk me a little, I feel there could have been more build or a stronger confrontation between Rian and Ember, but I love how she tied in the original cutting of the step sister's feet into this version, in fact just about every facet of the original fairy tale was addressed in Ember's story. The writer's attention to these details makes it a worthy adaptation and I will definitely be looking for more from this world.

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"Cinderella Punches You in the Gut"

Rating: 9 / 10

I love the violent, anti-romance twist of this retelling. It was not as violent and dark as I expected from the description, but quite compellingly realistic.

I love the contrasts to the Disney-fied version of Cinderella. The step-family is truly family, and beauty is not blonde and demure and dainty. I particularly enjoyed the author’s take on witchcraft and Wise Women, and how it affected the characters culture and relationships. The writing is snappy, informative without overloading you, and didn’t drag. The sex is honest, and while a bit glorified, not the typical over-the-top fare of your average romance or erotica.

The one aspect that turned me off was the prince’s obsession, and how he kept getting his way. His deception was fine— he had his reasons. But the obsessive interrogations that led to people mutilating themselves was quite off-putting. It all could have been resolved with a little radical honesty. And he got his way, he got the girl, he got married, he got a queen. That fell flat for me. I did like, however, Ember’s unapologetic description of what many people would consider morally questionable. She wasn’t evil, in my mind, her conception of the world was just different. A longer telling might have helped add depth to the characters, but I found them all refreshingly human in this brief retelling.

This is, as other reviewers have mentioned, the way fairy tales should be. Honest, authentic, and compelling.

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