Review of The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly Stepsister
Unfinished Fairy Tales
By Aya Ling

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Number of Pages: 452

Date Started: April 25, 2017
Date Finished: April 26, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

Last night I thought I’d begin a book, not realizing that I would become glued to this novel and not want to put it down. This is the second Cinderella retelling series that I’ve read this month and it was just as amazing as the last, in different ways.

Firstly, Kat joins the story of Cinderella begrudgingly, that is to say, completely against her will. It’s amusing and quite interesting seeing how she tries to combat the old fashioned world she ended up in. All of Kat’s reactions to clothes, as someone who has worn the full effect in Renaissance style clothing, was spot on (do NOT try to have a corset or bodice done up tightly– it IS quite difficult to breathe in!)

Kat is quite the relatable heroine: a girl who isn’t quite comfortable talking to guys, who slowly begins to realize that while things might be seen as the correct way to act in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the way one should act. Kat also discovers that when one isn’t as good at something as another, it is far better to move on and not dwell on it.

Kat has the advantage of coming to understand several different types of relationships while she’s in the fairy tale world. She and her “real” family have unconditional love: they want what is best for each other, and want each other to be happy, even if what they do to be happy doesn’t necessarily make sense to each other. Kat and her fairy tale family have more of a “I love what you can do for me” relationship, which, while quite unpleasant, everyone experiences at least once in their life.

Five stars, would totally recommend.

I absolutely adore how Kat and the prince come to meet and learn about each other. While they have a lot in common, between their need to get away from everything and everyone to escape sometimes, and their desire to help the people, it would have been nice to see them take an interest in each other’s hobbies. Who knows… maybe we’ll see something in book 2?

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

She is currently working on Ever After, Book 3 in the Unfinished Fairy Tales series, to be released in 2017. For exclusive bonus scenes, giveaways, and new release info, visit

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