Lately I’ve been going between reading binges and not reading a thing; so if a story intrigues me, then it’s pretty much a guarantee I’ll end up binge reading the entire series. Now I’m a sucker for a fairy tale retelling, so after hearing about The Kingpin of Camelot, the third book in Cassandra Gannon’s A Kinda Fairytale series, from Ilona Andrews, I was intrigued. After checking out the first book in the series, Wicked Ugly Bad, because starting with the first book in a series seems obvious, I was more than intrigued; I was buying and soon found myself immersed in the Four Kingdoms.
The A Kinda Fairytale series introduces us to our favorite fairy tales characters, but giving us a more realistic view of them. Why were Cinderella’s stepsisters ugly? We were told they are, and they’re always depicted as ugly, but more in appearance than just their personalities. In Gannon’s series, her characters are either born Good or Bad – ones who deserve their HEAs or are automatically determined to be a villain; but just because one is born Bad, does that make them truly bad? Gannon really plays with this idea and gives a whole new view of Cinderella and her “ugly” stepsisters in Wicked Ugly Bad.
I really love how Gannon gave all of her characters personalities, that while not ugly in the sense of evil, they were still personalities that not everyone gets along with. One of my favorite twists is Cindy and her relationship with the mice – it makes a little more sense than the Disney version (from an adult perspective). To be perfectly honest, there’s not really an evil personality in any of the A Kinda Fairytale books. Take our star couple, Scarlett Riding (Cinderella’s ugly stepsister) and Marrok Wolf (love this pairing!), both have been marked as bad but their worse offense was not stepping aside and letting some one else shine. Someone who was Good. It’s not just these two either. Of all the Bad folk we meet, there’s really only one who could be called evil and he’s more creepy than anything (you’ll meet him in The Kingpin of Camelot).
Consider this a spoiler if you want, but none of our Bad heroes and heroines are ever redeemed – because they don’t need to be. They stay true to themselves from page one to the end. They do evolve in their relationships with others (as Avenant, our Beast in Shining Armor, does), but it becomes more of an understanding of who they are versus just calling them rotten. The ones who do need to be redeemed or are making the lives of our favorite Baddies hard, the Good ones, well I’m not going to tell you what happens to them. Let’s just say if you’re not smiling, or at least grinning, then something is wrong.
That, I believe, is the other big reason I ended up sucked into the A Kinda Fairytale series. Most fairy tale retellings can be dark or full of drama, but Gannon brings the funny and the light. All three books were easy reads that kept me laughing. There’s a ton of humor that mixes a little tongue in cheek with oh-my-god-did-that-just-happen with a dash of snarkiness, and you may see it coming, but every time I still ended up laughing.
There’s no doubt about it, the A Kinda Fairytale series is one I would definitely recommend to anyone who’s looking for something fun to read. Hell, I’m already itching to read them again and I’ve already re-read Wicked Ugly Bad as I wrote this review. I also cannot wait for Happily Ever Witch to be released and to find out what happened to Esmeralda when she fell into that pit. If you’re looking for a new twist on your favorite fairy tales, then look no further than Cassandra Gannon’s A Kinda Fairytales.