Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty Universe) by Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen Impulse
Received: Bought from Nook Store
Description: Orphan Maia doesn’t see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia’s father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother’s approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they’ll all be struck dead by the curse.
Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn’t believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What’s the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she’ll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.
As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn’t believe in love. Anax can’t help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can’t help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother’s deadly bargain?
HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.
Review: Ok, I love Rosamund Hodge. I love this freaking world. Give me more of this world! I could heap praise on this novella ’til the cows come home but I won’t. This is a 111 page addition to the world of Hodge’s debut novel Cruel Beauty, one of my absolute favorite books of all time, this time based on the fairytale Cinderella. As of this moment it is my favorite Cinderella retelling.
Hodge’s Cruel Beauty universe is a wonderfully creative world. Part greek mythology and part fantasy, Hodge’s world meshes the two beautifully. While the mythology bits are identifiable, Hodge’s created world combines with it so perfectly that it seems almost organic.
The twists Hodge makes of the standard Cinderella tale are what make his novella such a standout. Hodge is very good at leading your expectations one way before pulling the rug out from under you and leaving you surprised. I’ve learned not to hold to firmly to my predictions when it comes to anything from Rosamund Hodge.
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