Ember is an adult retelling of Cinderella that turns the classic tropes on its head, adds saucy smut, deepens absolutely everything and is all-round fucking amazing.
I absolutely loved loved loved this book. I can’t believe Bettie gives it away for free! My friend ThreeRs recommended it to me when we were talking about awesome self-published novels. I read the first chapter for free on Bettie’s website, fell head-over-heels in love, and promptly bought it from Amazon to finish on my Kindle.
Not only is Ember beautifully written, it takes each of the normal Cinderella tropes, rips them apart and sticks them together in recognisable but unique and awesome ways. Evil step-mother? Nope, she’s actually pretty cool, but the neighbours’ gossip and rumours reduces our Cinder-Ember to a household slave. Prince Charming? Only because he’s been cursed with charm. The glass slipper? There’s a reason it will only fit Ember’s precious foot.
Ember’s no blushing virgin, and it’s insanely refreshing to see Bettie attempting to write her as an unlikeable character who doesn’t give a shit what people think, and is perhaps aware of her own brusqueness and coldness. Because I’m a fickle bitch, I LOVED Ember. I want to have her over for tea, and motherfuckers I don’t even drink tea!. True, she didn’t have much character development, but it wasn’t an insanely long novel so all can be forgiven. Ember was already pretty adept and kick-ass and didn’t have much more room to grow. The most admirable thing about her was her wiliness and stubbornness, her sheer willpower to remain true to herself in the face of a powerful curse. She was incredibly realistic, even for a character in a fantasy novel.
I loved how the plot unfolded, vaguely following our Cinderella base but adding in so many unique and thoughtful twists and ideas you’d be forgiven for not even recognising the inspiration. Bettie’s writing was sharp, clear, and to the point, and I never grew impatient or frustrated reading this. The entire story was full of suspense and mystery, utilising the amazing world-building, and although I saw the ‘twist’ coming from a mile off (seriously, it’s a retelling people, you know how the story is going to unfold!) it was still awesome watching through Ember’s eyes as she outwitted everyone and stayed true to herself like only a kick-ass badass babe-a-licious heroine can do.
There’s also passing references to other fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White, which of course are like crack to me. I loved them.
EMBER is available on Amazon for 99c, but if you can’t even afford that (or if you don’t have an Amazon account) you can read the entire thing FOR FREE on Bettie Sharpe’s website! I’m happy to have this on my Kindle because I know I’m going to be re-reading it.