Review: The Wicked Ones (Dark Ascension #1)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes. 

This book serves as a prequel to the Disney movie, Cinderella, and explores how Drizella and Anastasia became evil stepsisters. 

The plot was well executed. I liked that the book started off with a prologue in the viewpoint of their father, which helped set up the story and shed some light on Lady Tremaine and her motives. The rest of the book is told in alternating points of view between Drizella and Anastasia, with an epilogue in the viewpoint of Lady Tremaine. The story is fairly basic, but it works. It highlights how the sisters weren’t born being evil, they became evil. 

The character development was also well done. The sisters are very likable in the beginning and you can’t help but root for them to pursue their dreams. By the time you reach the end, you understand how and why they became evil and why they dislike Cinderella so much. 

I do want to note that there is bullying, abuse, and neglect in the story and there isn’t a happy ending. If you’re looking for a light hearted Disney read, this book isn’t for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this dark dive into the world of Cinderella. If you like villain stories, consider picking this book up!

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Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I previously read one of the author’s other books, Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch, and absolutely loved it. I was very excited to read this one since it acts as a prequel to the Eva Evergreen books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as Eva Evergreen. 

This is a Cinderella retelling and because of that, the book felt constrained plot wise. I didn’t feel as though the story benefitted from being a Cinderella retelling. If the book was just a regular middle grade fantasy without the Cinderella aspects, it still would have worked. I also felt that the book wasn’t as magical as Eva Evergreen. Eva Evergreen had a certain charm about it and I was hoping this book would too since it is set in the same universe. 

Additionally, for a book with the word “dragons” in the title, it was light on the dragons. The book never seemed to fully explore the dragons and Alliana’s relationship with them. (Maybe this will come in a later book?)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like some things about the book. I enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Grandmother Mari and Nela. Each of them had such a special relationship and bond with Alliana that was heartwarming to see. I also liked the parts that did feature the dragons. 

Overall, there were some things I liked about this and some things I had issues with. I hope there is a sequel to this book since there’s still more to explore with Alliana. If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy, I would say to give it a shot! 

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