ARC Review: A Curse of Ash and Iron – Christine Norris

A Curse of Ash and Iron – Christine Norris

20691458Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

Release Date: May 21st, 2015

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

I didn’t realize right away that this is a Cinderella retelling because apparently the cover distracted me from actually reading the synopsis.

What I liked:

-the cover!! Gorgeous. It reminds me of the Gail Carriger novels that I really want to read.

-the plot. I love fractured fairy tales or retellings, and, even though I think the best Cinderella retelling ever is Ella Enchanted, I’m always down to read another version.

-it’s not quite steampunk, but I found the inventions interesting, especially the historically accurate description of the Exhibition.

What I didn’t like:

-the characters. I feel terrible saying this, but I didn’t really care about any of the characters, except maybe Rebecca, but even she had a sudden personality shift.

I couldn’t understand how she and Ellie spent seven years being indifferent to each other and then Rebecca was all “you’re the best sister ever, I wanna help you”, and I was like “it’s a little late for that, isn’t it?”. But they ended up having a really sweet relationship at the end, which I liked.

-the “love triangle”. I didn’t feel any chemistry between any of the characters. And talk about insta-love: Ellie talks to Hamilton Scott for all of ten seconds before she walks away thinking “I’m in love!!”. No, Ellie, I’m pretty sure that’s just lust because you thought he was hot. Which I suppose is what happens in the original Cinderella story, but one of the reasons I loved Ella Enchanted was because of the relationship between Ella and Char (I still get emotional at the end).

Ben was no better. I didn’t particularly care for him, and I could see where his story was going, but it didn’t stop it from being annoying to watch Ellie toy with him (even if it was unintentional).

-the dialogue. While it was mostly realistic, it sometimes seemed forced and unnatural. It wasn’t so bad that it detracted from the story or anything, and it was a personal quirk, but I preferred the exposition to the dialogue.

Overall, I felt like it was lacking something. It was a decent story and it had some really fascinating elements, but my inability to connect with the characters made it a hard read.

Rating:

2 interrobangs

2.5 interrobangs

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