Nora is an orphaned servant who lives with her adoptive family in the kitchen house. Then, she discovers that her father has been living in the house with her the entire time, but when she asks about him, she is thrown in an ash-covered room. The only object she has from her mother is a silver-bladed knife, and she wants to know what really happened to her. After a royal ball is announced, Nora needs to decide whether to claim her birthright or stay with her family.
I have to admit, the first part of this novel was a little bit slow for me. It took a bit longer than I would have liked for things to get started, and I almost DNF’ed it. I thought that I would NEVER be able to connect to the characters. However, about halfway through the novel, everything changed. I was finally able to connect with the characters, and the storyline seemed to pick up. The closer the story gets the ball, the more things started to pick up. Overall, the pacing was off but then it fixed itself.
The world building left a bit to be desired, Some aspects of the novel were great, such as the description of the magic, while others just seemed to be left up to the imagination. For example, the ash room of punishment is never really explained. How does the ash even get into the room? I definitely wish that this had been expanded upon.
To me, this story ended a bit abruptly. I wish that there had either been a sequel to the novel, or a longer ending. The book was rather short overall, but there definitely could have been a bit more to the ending.
Other than these small gripes, the overall story was entertaining and enjoyable. Nora was a fun main character to read about, and the story wasn’t completely focused on romance. I definitely love dark fairytale retellings. I mean, the original Cinderella was pretty dark anyway, but this one was still darker so I liked it. One of my favorite characters was Jack, but I don’t want to spoil too much about him.
Overall, this story was a fun read, and I would definitely recommend it to lovers of dark fantasy/dark fairy-tale retellings. My only advice would be to just understand that even if the beginning is slow, it definitely picks up around halfway through.
Overall Rating: 3/5