Sunday, May 17, 2020

Stepsister, by Leah Cypess

★★★★☆ A protagonist you'll love to cheer for.

(Cinderella Pastiche) Young Garrin, bastard brother to King Ciar, is sent to find Queen Ella’s stepsister and bring her to the castle. Not everyone lives happily ever after. (13,997 words; Time: 46m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RHorton.r+1 πŸ‘STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"Stepsister," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|20, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.279 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Once, when I was studying German, I read the Grimm Fairy Tale version of Cinderella in the original language, and I came away thinking she was a witch. Her family (including her father) treated her badly because she and her mother had dealt in sorcery, and Cinderella drew magic from her mother’s grave to disguise herself for the prince’s ball.

So I was definitely ready for a sequel to the story where she’s not the good person her PR would have you believe.

Here, it’s pretty clear from the start that no one is a good person here, except for Garrin. Prince Charming (I mean King Ciar) is selfish and ungrateful. Cinderella (Ella) has a cruel streak, and Jacinda is an unrepentant child abuser. The King wants an heir, the Queen wants to keep the king, and Jacinda—well, I guess she just wanted to live. What matters is what Garrin wants.

For Garrin, his friendship with the King is the most important thing in his world, even when he realizes the King doesn’t really feel the same way about him. His lie to claim the boy as his own is almost his first independent action (if we don’t count his burning the fake note).

Con: For all of that, Garrin isn’t a very proactive character. He does what he has to do, and stumbles into acquiring a kid at the end. He didn’t have any sort of plan, and along the way, his actions are mostly determined by others.

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Leah Cypess Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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