Excellent re-imagining of ‘Cinderella’ with a steampunk twist; a satisfying and magical tale told from dual perspectives, of Ellie and Benjamin. ‘A Curse of Ash and Iron’ is an old familiar tale set in a new place with some different characters and a refreshing twist on the plot. The tale touches upon key elements of the traditional ‘Cinderella’ story and provides a much more in depth look at the inner workings of the plot. Set in Philadelphia in 1876 amidst the introduction of scientific inventions, Benjamin Grimm divides his time between working at the theater and building inventions of his own. When his childhood friend, Ellie, suddenly appears in the theater one night, his world is forever changed.
Benjamin is a man of science and invention, with great plans for a career as an illusionist; every aspect of Ellie’s life has been touched by magic. It was delightful to watch as each tries to convince the other of the validity of what they believe in, and the seamless interweaving of steampunk invention with magic elements was cleverly written. Norris’ well-developed characters provide the audience with insight to their motivations which makes for a fantastic version of ‘Cinderella’.
Also immensely enjoyable was the not-so-evil stepsister, Rebecca. Though Ellie bears the brunt of her stepmother’s cruelty, Rebecca is also robbed of certain freedoms and does not add to Ellie’s hardship. Class division and gender equality in society are mentioned, but not overbearing. I found it to be a fantastic addition to a timeless fairy tale, as it is rare that one thinks of those things when enjoying ‘Cinderella’.
‘A Curse of Ash and Iron’ sports a strong plot with well-developed characters, a pleasant and G-rated romance and a satisfying ending. Language and themes are suitable for younger audiences and enjoyable for older YA readers as well. I highly recommend this enjoyable tale to all YA and fairy tale fans.
I received a copy from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an honest review.