One Last Chance To Save Happily Ever After! Can a group of heroes, including Goldenhair, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel, help General Snow White and her dwarven resistance fighters defeat the tyrannical Queen Cinderella? And will they succeed before a war with Wonderland destroys everything? Their only hope to stop Cinderella’s quest for power lies with a young girl named Patience Muffet. She carries the fabled shards of Cinderella’s glass slippers, as well as the dark secret of who murdered the last of the fairy godmothers. Roy A.Mauritsen’s fantasy adventure fairy tale epic begins with Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder.
The title hinted that this tale would be an interesting take on the Cinderella fable. I remember picking the book up during the Virtual Fantasy Con 2016 precisely because of this. I enjoy when the fairy tales are turned upside down, so I hoped this would be an enjoyable read.
The world building in this book was serviceable, though a bit on the thin side. Instead of a rich tapestry for the tale to unfold on, it felt like a stage that used projected images onto a cloth backdrop. A few pieces stood out in more detail, almost taking on a feeling of stage props, yet everything still remained a bit flat for my tastes.
Not exactly sure if the characters made it to fully developed or not. They were definitely more than cardboard cutouts, but there was still something that felt like it was missing. It doesn’t help that the beloved fairy tale characters (and Roy manages to pull them all in, even many of the Mother Goose ones) have been built up over the years by mega corporations to be such happy-go-lucky, nothing-can-hurt me pieces of fluff. The characters you meet are anything but fluff. They are gritty, strong willed, independent, and in many cases – resourceful. The protagonists have an understandable mission in life. One that is so glaringly obvious it’s almost a caricature of hopelessness. The antagonists, meanwhile, take on the looming shadow of what the world fears without explaining why. (This does come out before the end of the book, but it takes a long, long time.)
The mix of which of recognizable fairy tale characters across the battle lines is also a bit startling. Especially when their recognizable traits from the familiar stories are used to show them in a vastly different light. I think that’s where the missing piece comes into play – the question about why these characters wound up on such a different path from what we’ve come to know them on.
The pacing in the story was a bit erratic, but not enough to make me want to put the book down. A few places lagged a bit much, and others felt a bit rushed. However, when taken as a whole, the pacing was reminiscent of the original fairy tale or fable the character originated from. As the story built to it’s peak, the pacing smoothed out a touch – matching the events, rather than the origin of the characters. This presented an intriguing dichotomy and helped keep me reading until the end.
I’m not exactly sure what happened, since most of the critical areas for me were well done, but when I finished reading I still felt something was missing. Because of this, I can only give this a 3.5 of 5 star award. Since I was on a reading binge, I did go on to read the next book, which may be part of what’s influencing my overall satisfaction with this one. I’ve had several times when a later book in a series pulls my enjoyment of the story into the basement. Not quite that bad this time, but definitely a possibility.
However, if you like having fairy tales and fables turned on their nose, I think you’ll enjoy Roy Mauristen’s Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder. If you want to give it a try, you can find it on Amazon Here. I can promise you this: It’s not your mother’s princess parade!
Until next time… keep the pages turning.