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

9 thoughts on “Review: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

  1. This one sounds cute, but I think I'm a little too impatient right now to read all of the possible stories. I also don't think I could read just one of them either. I'd be too curious. 😛

  2. I was a huge fan of Choose Your Own Adventure stories, but never read one with a familiar fairy tale character. Intrigued!

  3. Nooooo! It's a choose your own adventure? I don't care for those so much, but this one does sound fun. So does SB: Vampire Slayer. Bum deal, but I think I still might give it a go, especially if you recommend it.

  4. @Small Review – I had that problem! I can't ever just read one through. @BookGeek – It was a really fun twist on the concept (using Cinderella). It kind of gave away the ending, but the path to get there is what she really twisted and made it exciting.@Missie – The sections are really long, so it's nice that you don't have to switch a bunch of pages really frequently. It was just silly good fun.

  5. omg, I haven't read a Choose Your Own Adventure book in so long! Totes fun! I was always the type of person who had to read all the pathways though; I couldn't read just one. I might have to request this on NetGalley 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed it. These books were really fun (and also challenging) to write. I thought a lot about making them like the old choose your own adventure books which had clear wrong paths — and now, you die!. But finally decided that a) fairy tales promise happy endings, so I'd better deliver happy endings 🙂 and b) if my heroines are smart, they'd have good outcomes no matter what decisions they make at various places… Just different paths.

  7. @Maureen – Wow! Thank you so much for commenting, both here and at Goodreads. You make excellent points about why the heroine should live at the end. I definitely found Cinderella smart and would have been upset if the ending had changed.

  8. What a great title for this book! Definitely something that will catch people's eye!~Brooke

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