The Wicked Ones

Disney Pr. (Dark Ascension: Bk. 1). Jan. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368078627.
Gr 7 Up–In this prequel to the animated Cinderella, Benway takes the point of view of stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia. Lady Tremaine is a villain to more than just Cinderella, forcing her daughters to compete for the prince’s hand against young ladies by displaying their skill at music—a skill they don’t have—at the prince’s debut. Lady Tremaine uses etiquette maliciously, cutting down her daughters and Ella, and encouraging the strained relationship between stepsisters. Suddenly, the girls are offered a chance at new lives—if only they can escape their mother. The magical elements of the animated classic do not exist in Benway’s world, but most characters fit their molds. While there is hope on the horizon, the story is dark, highlighting the abuse and trauma consistent to fairy tales.
VERDICT A secondary purchase, though an easy sell to Disney fans.

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