Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review: Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty Universe) by: Rosamund Hodge

Release Date: April 1, 2014
from Harper TEEN Impulse
Goodreads | Amazon

"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?"

My Thoughts:

Rosamund Hodge needs to write more books because I need to read them. A novel and a novella is simply not enough. I fell in love with Cruel Beauty when I read it and was over the moon when I found out we were getting a novella set in the same world. Let me just say that it did not disappoint. I loved this novella and loved getting back into this world. It is not the same characters but this world is just so intriguing and I love it.

With this novella we have a Cinderella re-telling and Hodge does it well. It has all the same traits you come to expect with Cinderella, but of course it is much much darker and twisted. I loved Maia, our heroine, and loved how strong and self sacrificing she was. She is living with her mothers bargain and it is not easy on her. She just wants to live out her life without others getting hurt because of her. Our hero is Anax and I must say I loved him. He is very swoony and even in the limited number of pages I fell for him. That boy is just full of the swoon. The kind of swoon that makes you go aww and sigh.

While this was a relatively short book, it didn't feel like it. It felt like a full novel and I loved that. It didn't feel lacking or rushed in any way. I was surprised that I even got to know some secondary characters, which isn't typical for a novella. This was just such a well rounded novella and I have so much love for it. I want more from this world. Also, it was interesting seeing Ignifex before Nyx came along and shook up everything he knows; even if all we saw of him was brief.

Gilded Ashes was a wonderful novella, probably one of the best I've read. If you are a fan of Cruel Beauty you have to give this novella a go. And if you haven't read Cruel Beauty yet, well you need to go fix that ASAP.


  1. Oh! It's set in the same world! Oh, my!! And I don't doubt that she did a really awesome job on the re-telling of Cinderella! I'm glad you enjoyed the characters, and I want to know what twists and darker elements that Hodge but into her book! I do want to read this one!:D


    1. I miss you and your awesomeness too! *muggle huggles*

  2. I'm always impressed when a novella can deliver a full story. Great review.

  3. Anax sounds dreamy! So glad you enjoyed this novella, and thanks for the review!

  4. I usually stay away from short stories because it usually feels incomplete. It's great that this one feels complete, I need to try Hodge, if she's as good as you say she is.

  5. I'm sadly one of the people who hasn't read CB yet, but its sitting on my shelf and I plan on it before the summer is done! I can't wait to explore this world, and Anax sounds totally swoon worthy! Can't wait to meet him. Glad you enjoyed this, Teresa! Fabulous review! :D

    ~ Maida xxx


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