Author: Ashley Poston
“I’m glad we’re in the impossible world.”
“Because otherwise I never would’ve found you.”
I was so hyped for this book. I mean what’s not to love, it has everything I could ever want in a contemporary: it’s a Cinderella retelling, it has to do with fandom, and it has the Hollywood/movie making cheesy-ness I love. But it just fell flat to me. The characters were forgettable caricatures and I could never get invested in the story.
Things I Liked :
Sage was the most interesting character. She was very unique and had a strong IDGAF personality. She helps Elle come out of her shell a bit, so that was nice. And her romance with Cal was the one romance I bought in the story, even though there was absolutely zero development for it. And in my opinion, she had the most successful modernization of the characters in the story.
Things I Didn’t Like :
I didn’t really like Elle at all. She had a #TrueFan complex that made her really unlikeable to me. I felt she was really judgmental and naive. I wanted to connect with Elle but she was really unremarkable, and I even forgot her name a few times when reading. Her name is Elle, it’s a Cinderella retelling and my name is Danielle, it shouldn’t have been that hard to remember it.
I understand this is a retelling, and the characters have to fit a certain mold in the story: the evil stepmom, the evil stepsister, prince charming, but every character (apart from Sage) felt one dimensional. They were only the stereotypes and hyperbolized caricatures of the role they were supposed to be, not modernized reimaginings. I wanted a little more creativity and depth to the characters, and I feel like that would have made me care about the story more.
I didn’t understand to whole selling the house subplot. Evil Stepmonster Catherine tells Elle that she’s selling their house (and it’s already on the market), even though the house is in Elle’s name. I just didn’t understand how Catherine would be able to make those decisions, when she doesn’t have the rights to the house. And after the big reveal, it’s never brought up again even when Elle mentions that she moved out when she turned 18.
Yes, this is a retelling of a fairytale, but I found some parts to be really unbelieveable, even in this context. When all the other cosplayers give Elle pieces of their costumes before she’s judged in the competition, it was a sweet moment that showed the unity that can be found in fandoms. But I just don’t understand how her outfit of amalgamated Starfield cosplayers earned her second prize. The pieces were thrown together backstage moments before judging. Elle talks about the respect, craft, and dedication that cosplayers have for their costumes, so for her to win after a patchwork job at the last minute felt unrealistic and unfair. I also didn’t like that she got into UCLA because her blog was recognized by a screenwriting professor who vouched for her,despite her grades. I guess it’s nice that she gets to go to school to do what she wants, but I didn’t like how it came about at all.
There were a BUNCH of references in this books: from Ryan Reynolds and Taylor Swift to Lord of the Rings and Star Trek. They pulled me right out of the story. I didn’t expect all of these real world references alongside this created show/fandom. It made Starfield and the Stargunner fandom seem fake.
I REALLY wanted to like this, but it’s going to be a miss. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the characters were too flat for me to ever get into the story. I hope everyone else will enjoy this and have a fun time. If you did like this, or want another Cinderella retelling about fandom and blogging check out Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram.