Book Review

Tales of Ambia | Fairytale Retellings | By Allison Tebo

1) The Reluctant Godfather

Now I’ve read a ton of Cinderella retellings (and watched a lot of them too). But THIS one, was refreshing. In fact Tebo reminds me a little bit of Gail Carson Levine’s fairytale retellings. She had a bunch of very short sweet ones (Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, etc). This reminded me of that in that it was very concise but nonetheless entertaining. The humor is what really set this apart for me.

I give this 3.5 stars, the only reason I didn’t give it 4 stars was because it’s a novella, so it’s a bit shorter than a longer book hence you don’t get as much time with the characters. Which was sad, because I really enjoyed these characters. Mostly I enjoyed Burndee, he’s delightfully sassy and honest and his observations are downright hilarious. He reminded me a little of Eugene Meltsner (from Adventures in Odyssey).


Pros
The main character Burndee is hilarious.

A fresh twist on Cinderella, that shows you can’t change people’s lives for them. Very insightful and unique.

Cons
The story is very short, so you don’t get a lot of time in any one section of the story, so it definitely left me wanting more…definitely like really delicious hor d’oeuvres that whet your appetite but don’t fill you up.

Since it was so short you don’t get a lot of time to develop the characters, so the pacing felt a bit rushed or rather “glossed-over” in places. This didn’t take away from its enjoyability, but I would definitely love to read a full length novel from this writer.

1.5) Poppy’s Peril

I give this 3.5 stars! I must say, I read “The Royal Masquerade” last year. But this time I read Poppy’s Peril first and then I read “The Royal Masquerade” and I thought it was even better that way.

Why?

Well I don’t think Poppy’s Peril works well as a standalone book, and neither does “The Royal Masquerade” they each felt like half of a book (partly because they’re so short, but also in terms of the plot etc.). When you put them together however….it’s wonderful! Suddenly I had so much more context (and actually cared) about Poppy. Whereas before when I read the Royal Masquerade I didn’t care too much about Poppy, because I didn’t know that much about Poppy so I just wasn’t invested in her character. Also, it just flowed really well to read them together as “one book.” And I don’t think it spoiled the suprise too much either, because the second half is from Bernadine’s point of view, so you get a fresh perspective of Poppy.

All this to say, I would read “Poppy’s Peril” and “The Royal Masquerade” as if they were one book versus two separate books, it made it immensely better (in my oh so humble opinion) and the plot characters make more sense as well.

2) A Royal Masquerade

I give this 3.5 stars, again the characters are absolutely delightful. When I first read it I thought that the pacing was a little off at times. For instance, there’s so many wonderful descriptions, but sometimes that distracts from the dialogue or main action that’s happening. However this time I ready “Poppy’s Peril” first which helped my have a better grasp of where to focus my attention in the story, and so the dialogue and hijinks didn’t distract, only entertained!

This story is meant to read more like a play that you’re watching, versus a typical novel. And it does! You have characters coming on and off set in a delightfully chaotic and bizarre sequence of events. My favorite part of this story is as with the first one, Burndee himself. I don’t think I’ve found a character I like this much in a long while. Definitely going on my favorite character list. I love reading his inner dialogue and “takes” on different people and situations.

Favorite Quotes

She had wanted him to be nice today. Well, he would be nice. He would do the socially correct thing and oil this marital wheel and give it a swift shove for good measure, if he had the opportunity. He would be the proper guest and feign as much excitement for the doomed fools as he could.

Oh, good one, milord. Wet around here—ha-HA! Well, rain on a wedding day is good luck, as they say. Oh, I say, that rhymed. When you’re a creative person, little things like that just slip out when you aren’t even trying.

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