Friday, 4 April 2014

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

This novella was pretty much amazing, albeit too short.
Set in the same world as Cruel Beauty (my review of it), Gilded Ashes manages to overthrow its antecessor in quite a number of  features:
For instance, this may be a novella, but it feels perfectly cohesive as a whole. In this one, its short length worked in its favour. Unlike what happened with Cruel Beauty _for me _ excessive length.

The characters are almost to the point of unbelievably interesting. 
Just when I thought I had a character figured out, new information would be revealed,  adding even more depth to it.

This may have a romance in it, but it doesn't steal the spotlight of the actual plot.
It's the relationships between four women... well three and a_____(read it!), that rule this tale. That, and how love has bound them together into their own personal tragedy.

You think you've read all Cinderella retellings worth reading?
Well, think again.
Gilded Ashes gives a new edge to this fairy tale, draping it with looming demons and heartbreaking bargains.
The Gentle Lord (one of Cruel Beauty's main characters) makes a short appearance. And I can tell you that he keeps himself constant to his true nature.

The writing was beautiful. 
Haunting and poetic, it created just the right atmosphere for such an horror story.
"Her cold touch goes still. My heart pounds jaggedly in my throat, but I pour out the words like sugar and cream: “You’re already dead, but you’ve worked so hard and long for me anyway. Please rest. Please leave this tree and rest forever.”"
In this tale, love  hasn't freed our main character, Maia.
On the contrary.
Love has been her shackles, and a heavy weight to bear, since the day her mother died...

True to the commonly known story, Maia's stepmother hates her. But to find the reason behind it, you'll just have to read it.

There's also two stepsisters: One who has the beauty and grace of a Queen, and the other who of course pales in her presence..
But there's bonds forged in love, and nothing is as easier as what is commonly perceived.

There's also a boy.  In this tale, he's not a prince, but the son of a Duke, and he needs to take a wife.
By now, you'll probably be saying: Oh, same old, same old...

No, far from it. That would be like saying, that the rainbow only has one colour.

The only reason this doesn't get a five star rating is because I believe that a little more development on Maya's and Anax's relationship would just have been the cherry on top of the cake. Which would be achieved with a few more pages...

Definitely recommended to all who like their fairy tales ambitiously retold.

Oh, and could I just say how amazing it would be if this tale were to be released  as a special feature in a future Cruel Beauty paperback edition?
Because it would really would! :) *hint* hint*

Buy "Gilded Ashes"

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