Monday, August 10, 2015

A Wish Made of Glass

Title: A Wish Made of Glass

Series: None

Year: 2015

Author: Ashlee Willis

Summary: Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.
(from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Isidore
~ Blessing 

Review: After reading Ashlee's The Word Changers, I was truly eager to read more from her. I had the opportunity to be an advanced reader for that novel, and when I saw that she was looking for influence readers for her latest story, I jumped on the chance. BECAUSE in addition to being another book by Ashlee, it was a Cinderella retelling. I just *had* to read this book.

And it didn't disappoint in the least. In fact, it went way above and beyond my expectations. Even from the first chapter, first paragraph, FIRST SENTENCE... I was hooked.

"When I was a child, I danced with the fey folk."

How much more intriguing can you get than that? Isidore takes us immediately into her world, her story, and we're introduced to everything she holds dear. Unlike most Cinderella tales that begin with a beloved mother's death, Isidore's tale begins with a promise of the future. 

The symbolism in this story is just... wow. Strong, to say in the least. When she dances as a child with the fey folk, Isidore learns from her mother that those special people carry their hearts within their shoes. But carrying their hearts within their shoes is dangerous, as the fey folk must take extra care with each step and leap, because with each step and leap they are treading upon their own hearts. This is a lesson that Isidore was meant to learn when she was young, yet after her mother's death, she banishes the fey folk from her mind and must learn it the hard way... treading upon her own heart with each step and leap and stumble that she takes.

What makes it even better is that the symbolic shoes that carry the hearts (for the ladies, at least) are made of glass. Glass slippers. The fey folk wear glass slippers. BING! *cue breathlessness*

As for being a Cinderella retelling, there's a lot in this novella that borrows from the original tale. You've got the death of her mother, a new stepfamily (with only one stepsister), another tragic loss, a ball, a handsome prince.... but it's like Ashlee took the tale of Cinderella and turned it completely upside down! This isn't the quest of a young servant girl finding a fairy godmother and a rich husband. No! This is the story of a bereaved young heroine who must learn to love and how to show that love to those closest to her. It was such a pleasant difference than your typical Cinderella romance, and I quite enjoyed it.

Isidore, herself, made also a pleasant difference. After the first and latest installment in Cinderella cinema, every Cinderella girl is stuck on having courage and being kind. However, Isidore is a far cry from your typical Cinderella. She's stubborn, jealous, bitter - and she has to learn to overcome her faults. She doesn't start off being kind. She learns kindness through the course of the story. 

Blessing, her stepsister, was wonderful. I absolutely loved Hazel. And the ending... *sigh* I will admit I called it, but it still left me feeling wowed. 

Advisory: Some light violence/injury (i.e. cheek slapping, some blood due to a head injury after a fall, etc.), and then also a touch of romance leading to a kiss. But all very light and highly appropriate to the tone of the novella.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Please note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*