This story takes place after the happily-ever-afters of several fairy tales (and we're talking the OLD versions, with all the gruesome stuff included), where the princesses of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty have become kind of Charlie's Angels/spies/sorceresses/rescuers.
Sounds good, right? That's what I thought, anyway.
Unfortunately, I barely made it through this book. I skim read most of it just so I could be done with it. How could such a great premise be so boring?
What I've done is broken the problems down for you to see what didn't work so that you can keep this in mind for your own writing. I've tried to include only minor spoilers, and hopefully you'll be able to benefit from this post even if you haven't read the book.
Please note these are purely my opinions. I'd also like to mention that the author seems like a great person, and I hate the fact I didn't like this book.
The main character was Danielle (aka Cinderella). I disliked her immensely. Firstly, she had no personal agenda. She was an empty character. I didn't find her interesting or relatable at all. Also, her stepsisters tried to kill her, they tortured her, they stole her husband and ahem, something else that will be spoilery... and she didn't get the slightest bit rage-y. She didn't want them hurt. She was like Sailor Moon, only it felt like she was more a pushover and annoyingly forgiving rather than kick-butt cool. There was one moment she lost her temper, but then rational thinking came in again and all hopes that the book would get interesting vanished.
Lesson: Don't make your character a perfect, forgiving, sickly sweet character. They're boring, and the reader will only get annoyed.
So the prince is kidnapped and the girls have to go to Fairytown to rescue him. Sounds good! Sounds fun! Sounds like a great adventure!
I've wracked my brain trying to figure out what was wrong. Why wasn't I interested in this? It's so up my alley! They shrank, they rode winged horses, they used swords and magic and all these awesome wa-pow! moves. So why didn't I care?
Partly it was due to the fact that the other two princesses were doing all the super cool stuff, while Danielle did barely anything. But the other part of my problem was there was nothing new. I'd seen all this before. Trolls, fairies, forests... done and done. Sure, there were a few different things in there, but where was that extra something that made it magical?
Lesson: If you have a true and tried setting, make sure you have LOTS of elements that are unique to your story. Also, small details add realism, generates reader interest, and breathes life into your world-building. Think of all the detail that was in the Harry Potter series.
The toilet humour might be refreshing for some, but surely I'm not the only one who found the fart and privy jokes unnecessary and gross? This is a fairy tale book featuring three female characters. I accept that some readers might appreciate the humour. Not me.
Lesson: Think of your target audience!