Author: Kayla Bain-Vrba
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's website:
Pip is a hopeless romantic living in a small town with his cobbler father and stepmother. His stepmother's greatest wish is to move to court, but his father insists they find Pip a husband first. Not willing to wait any longer, his evil stepmother spreads a rumor that Pip can turn pebbles into jewels, and make those precious gems into slippers.
When the Aelfin king hears of this, he has Pip captured and thrown in the dungeon. Pip has one night to make the king a pair of gemstone slippers, or his life is forfeit. Luckily for Pip, who has never worked with a single gemstone much less an entire slipper's worth, the king's son has magical powers that can make bejeweled slippers—and he wants revenge on the king for casting him out.
The two strike a bargain, but one pair of jeweled slippers leads to more and more demands, and Pip swiftly runs out of things to trade, until all that remains is his heart...
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pip's stepmother needs Pip to get married and leave the house in order for her plans to make it big in the city to happen, so she hatches a plan: tell the evil fairy king that Pip can turn pebbles into gemstones. The fairy king immediately kidnaps Pip and shoves him in a cell, except Pip's not alone. The other man can save Pip for a price, but Pip isn't sure whether he might have to bargain away his heart as well.
Overall I thought this was a cute and simple retelling of a classic fairy tale. I enjoyed the fact that Pip was a cobbler instead of a miller and that it was gems instead of gold, but the bones of this story were kept strong. That grounding gave Bain-Vrba the chance to really explore the story and adding the world of the fairy king and court was a nice touch.
This story did have a few gaping plot holes that I had some difficulty with. The main one was the stepmother herself. One, why would she think marrying a simple cobbler in a very small town would in any way get her to court in the big city? Two, how would she have ever been near enough to the fairy king to tell her tall tale about Pip? And three, she had a lot influence over Pips father, so why did she have to resort to getting Pip kidnapped? The rest of the story and the other characters had equally as many plot holes associated with them, all of which made an otherwise enjoyable fairy tale a bit difficult to read.
I liked this retelling of a classic fairy tale, particularly how Bain-Vrba left the bones of the story alone so the rest of the plot could diverge beautifully without taking away from the original story. There were a number of very large plot holes that hurt this story, but overall I enjoyed reading it so I will recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.