Gilded Ashes, the companion to Cruel Beauty. Same universe, same style, same love, same fantasy.
Name: Gilded Ashes
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Epic Reads Impulse
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
A romantic and fantastical reimagining of the classic Cinderella tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as the author’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty.
Orphan Maia doesn’t see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the evil, all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia’s father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother’s approval, yet she always spurns them. And though her family has turned her into a despised servant, Maia must always pretend to be happy, or else they’ll all be struck dead by the curse.
Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn’t believe in love either—not since he discovered that his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his noble title. What’s the point of pretending to fall in love with a girl just so she’ll pretend to fall in love with him back? But when his father invites all the suitable girls in the kingdom to a masked ball, Anax must finally give in and select a wife.
As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia, who was asked by her eldest stepsister to deliver letters to Anax. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn’t believe in love. Anax can’t help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can’t help falling in love with her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall in love with him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother’s deadly bargain?
Book Cover Comments
I see how the cover is connected to the book :D And I think the concept with the flowers is really beautiful, as well as the contrast in color. I also like how for the words, the “G” from Gilded is connected with “A” from Ashes.
The Actual Review
Cruel Beauty was amazing. And it’s companion, Gilded Ashes, is ALSO amazing. This retelling of Cinderella opened my eyes wide throughout the story, and was really intriguing, and it takes Cinderella a level up. While sticking true to the story, there were aspects of it that were changed to make things more interesting and stunning.
Beginning with plot, the fact Maia acts as the deliverer of letters by her stepsister Kore for the prince makes the romance predictable. But it is because we know the plot of Cinderella this well, and it is also because even when changes are made, and the retelling stays true to the plot, is what makes it really nice and wonderful. The latter plot was also drastically changed, but it was amazing in its own way, and of course no spoilers. I’ll elaborate on this a little with the characters.
Maia is a wonderful character, different from any other Cinderella I’ve seen. Her character and sacrifices that she makes in this book is EXTREMELY remarkable. How she thinks, what she believes and what she does about it is what makes her a really beautiful Cinderella. I was in love with her from the beginning to the very end, captivating every moment of me.
Our Prince, the son of the duke, Anax, was also very different. I’d say I can’t know much about “different” because pretty much the Cinderella movies don’t actually tell you much about the prince, but I think what he sacrifices and how he acted when he knew Maia was the one was really sweet, beautiful, and smile worthy. (Technically I’m not spoiling it because we all know what Cinderella is about??)
Another thing we really need to talk about is about the Stepmother and the stepsisters. Rosamund writes a whole different stepmother and stepsisters, no longer pure evil from the beginning. They are special in their own way, the sacrifices they made in order to protect their loved ones. Though the stepmother is the so called “villain”, I can see how Rosamund really supports the motif of no one is born evil.
Also you’ll see why this book is part of the Cruel Beauty Universe. You’ll see what characters crossover ;)
Hope you read this novella, and feel free to email me/message me on any of my social media platforms and talk to me about the book!