Saturday 2 March 2019

Book Review: The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale by Rebecca Henry (Fantasy/Fairytale)

Title: The Lady Raven - A Dark Cinderella Tale
Author: Rebecca Henry
Austin Macauley

Publication Date: 2017
eBook - PDF
Review Copy from Author


In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realises that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

I struggled a little deciding how to rate The Lady Raven. On the plus side, this is an interesting, dark retelling of the familiar Cinderella story. I liked many of Henry's changes and additions, and the pacing of the piece worked okay. What let this book down, though, was the prose. It needed a thorough edit, as there were constant instances of incorrect punctuation, repetition, and stilted dialogue. They were on every page, making them impossible to ignore, and it was therefore hard to sink into the story. Since turning the final page, I have been prevaricating between two and three stars on the rating side of things. However, I've recently given three-star ratings to other books that contained far fewer errors. Therefore, I think I will have to clock this one in at a 2.5. There are some excellent qualities in terms of the story idea, but I just can't overlook the problems with the prose. If you can, and if you love fairytale adaptations, then maybe give it a try.

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