Synopsis: The story follows Garrin’s perspective of what happens five years after Cinderella’s wedding. Garrin is the half-brother and best friend of prince Charming, now King Ciar. Both fear and love drive Garrin to be absolutely loyal to Ciar, although everyone else believes that he will deceive him.
King and Queen fail to conceive a child. In secret, Ciar orders Garrin to bring him Cinderella’s stepsister from her refuge. The Queen hates her stepsister for reasons told in the original fairy tale and nearly had her executed. Only the intervention of the King saved her.
One can imagine who outraged Cinderella was when she found out Garrin’s special task.
Review: I always hated the Disney versions of the Grimm brothers’ tales which are far darker and more adult than the adaption. You have to understand that I’m literally living in Grimm’s land – the brothers lived only a couple of miles away from my home. I don’t often read retellings, because very often they are just bad and I don’t get anything from them.
It’s far different with this novelette. First of all, it resembles very well the original style, including the story jumps, the dark atmosphere and actions. Additionally, every character besides Garrin is more or less evil, most prominent cruel Cinderella who turns out to be a witch and egocentric King Ciar. Garrin himself doesn’t have much agency, he is a plaything of his loyalty and the involved players.
The story discusses loyalty as a central topic. Every twist explores another layer in Garrin’s core virtue and engages the reader more. Of course, there is a final twist in the masterfully constructed plot that you won’t see coming with all those layers.
I really want to read more of the author and highly recommend reading this novelette if you care for fairy tale retellings with a darker atmosphere.