Buy the book at
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?
This story is set in the same universe as Cruel Beauty, but it can be read on its own. Though, I highly recommend you to read that one too. This story is actually a retelling of Cinderella, where our main character Maia is an orphan but living in a world where love is not what they describe in fairy tales. She is cursed and her mother is still protecting her even though dead. On the other hand we have Anax who is also disappointed in love, because he is often loved because of his title. What neither of them cannot influence is fate, which decides to brings them together. Now they are thrown into something bigger than them.
Once again it was hard not to be captivated by this story. It has the basic elements of Cinderella, but this story is much darker and somehow more real. It's not all pink and fluffy but rather gray and hunting. It was really great to see how this story developed even though it's not too long. I really liked all the characters and somehow I feel like all of them played their role neatly.
It was amazing to be captured in this world again and I hope I'll go back to it someday, but only thing I regret is the length of the story. I wish it was a full novel!
Rating: 4 stars.
Until the next time,