The Stepsister Scheme is book number 12 for me this year, and has the dubious honor of being the first book I’m putting down without finishing. A couple of months back I picked up the second book in this series (The Mermaid’s Madness) without realizing it was a sequel. The description was intriguing; a continuation/retelling of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, only with all the princesses being ass-kicking bad-asses. I started on The Mermaid’s Madness, quickly realized it was Book 2, and stopped to backtrack and pick up book 1. Don’t get me started ranting about how much it pisses me off when publishers don’t list on the cover or spine that a book is part of a series.
The only reason I gave The Stepsister Scheme 150 pages of my time is because I was stuck on a plane and had nothing else to read. The characters are stereotypical and hackneyed, the plot is incredibly pedestrian, and the jokes and attempts at humor made me roll my eyes every time. The book reads like something aimed at 13-year-old girls, except that from time to time it throws in some adult themes and dirty language. I dog-eared 10 pages out of the first 100 that had contradictions or repetitive language. I really have absolutely nothing positive to say. Oh – and the cover was embarrassing to be witnessed holding, just to add insult to injury.
I won’t wax poetic on this one – just skip it. If you’re looking for books that take a fairy tale or fantasy basis then twist it and add hilarity, pick up Company of Ogres or Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez.