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A Reader of Fictions: Once Upon a Dream - Mary Costa & Bill Shirley

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Once Upon a Dream - Mary Costa & Bill Shirley

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Author: Maureen McGowan
Pages: 314 (if you read all of the scenarios)
ARC Acquired from: Baker & Taylor Publishing Group via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
This is Cinderella as you've never seen her before. This Cinderella has magical powers and, as the title intimates, ninja skills. Why is someone so rocking a prisoner, you might conceivably wonder. Well, that's because her stepmother has magical powers too, only she works for the dark side. Can Cinderella escape her evil stepmother's grip in time to win a contest in magic and a dance with Prince Tiberius (and, more importantly, with Ty, the royal messenger)? You decide!

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved choose your own adventure books. In fact, they were the only Goosebumps books I could bear to read, since I have always been a complete and utter wimp when it came to anything remotely horrific. Additionally, I adore fairy tales, so this new series that does its best to combine the two was impossible to pass up.

Unlike the choose your own ending books of my youth, these books aimed at teens or adults have many less decision points, a sacrifice made for story and plot. On the one hand, this is a good thing, but, on the other, I really wanted to make all the choices. Oh well. I only read one of the eight possible outcomes (along with one of the other sections, just to get an idea), because my reading pile is ridiculous, but it was pretty good. I imagine it would probably be my favorite of them, should I read all of the others.

Actually, this book reminded me, rather strangely, of The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, which has nothing to do with fairy tales or choose your own adventure. In this book, you see two possible courses a woman's life could take, based on whether she decided to have an affair or not on the night of her birthday. There are two story lines in all but the first and last chapters, where everything comes together again. Here, too, all roads lead to the same place. Again, that's cool, but not altogether realistic, I feel. Some of the plot lines always feel forced to get you back to that specified ending.

All that aside, this was a charming, fun way to spend an afternoon. It was nice seeing a powerful Cinderella; in fact, my favorite parts were the ones that were off book, where she was doing magic. If you miss having a say in some of your main character's choices, give this a try!

"But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once

The way you did once upon a dream"

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