Review: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

Book: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
Author: Maureen McGowan
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Release date: April 1, 2011
Source: NetGalley ARC

Summary: (from Goodreads) In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her princeâ??she’s a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes nextâ??but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you’ve ever read!

First impressions: This is not your average Cinderella story. From the beginning it’s a little bit darker, with more magic and more action. McGowan wastes no time immersing us in this world, so I found it easy to adjust to this atypical Cinderella character.

Lasting impressions: So much fun! The more I think about this book, the more I smile. If you were ever a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books, you will love this one. McGowan has another title in this Twisted Tales series called Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer which should be really enjoyable if this one is any indication.

Negative impressions: The story took a little too long to wrap up for my liking. This is probably more due to familiarity with the Cinderella story than any plodding plot problems, but I felt like there were three different times the book could have ended before the story finally resolved.

Overall impressions: This is just plain enjoyable entertainment. Familiar story? Check. Cool new setting? Check. Fully developed characters with a ninja twist? Check! It all adds up to a sweet, exciting and fabulous retelling of Cinderella. This Cinderella competes in magic competitions, does high-flying acrobatics, battles her stepmother and meets the man of her dreams in a variety of disguises.

There are eight different pathways through the novel, and I skimmed through the sections I didn’t choose for my primary path. They all show similar character developments through different plot situations, and begin and end in the same place for continuity. It’s nice because you don’t feel overwhelmed by page flipping because the sections are long. At the same time, with eight different combinations, you can craft slightly different stories several times and have an enjoyable read.

With very little violence and lots of action, this is a great pick for younger readers. I also highly recommend it to adults looking for a fun and quick read.

Rating: 4/5 stars