The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1)

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1)

by Jim C. Hines

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The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1) by Jim C. Hines

What would happen if an author went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for his plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with Charlie's Angels? What's delivered is The Stepsister Scheme—a whole new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. And with Jim C. Hines penning the tale readers can bet it won't be "and they lived happily ever after."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756405328
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 01/06/2009
Series: Princess Novels Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 493,727
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jim C. Hines has been a paid juggler, earned a black belt in two different martial arts, performed yo-yo tricks at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and lived with a brain-damaged squirrel. (Only three of those are true.) One of his earliest stories earned first place in the Writers of the Future contest. He’s published more than forty short stories as well as numerous fantasy novels, including the humorous Jig the Dragonslayer trilogy, the Princess series, which re-imagines traditional fairy-tale princesses as butt-kicking action heroines, and the Magic Ex Libris series, about a centuries-old secret society dedicated to the use and control of book magic. In 2012, he won the Hugo for Best Fan Writer. Jim lives in Michigan with his wife, two children, and an unstable number of pets. He can be found online at

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The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
MicheleLeesBookLove More than 1 year ago
I bought this book. Did you find yourself unsatisfied by classic fairy tales growing up? Tired of happy endings only being for beautiful (and humble and obedient) princes and princesses and witches always being evil and dying in the end (and worse, everyone celebrating the death)? Me too. Its no wonder we've seen a resurgence in twisted or even anti-fairy tales lately, particularly as a generation of people who grew up being Disney-fied come to realize that happily ever takes work, and even then it isn't guaranteed. Shrek, Wicked and countless others celebrate the twisting of the fairy tales we know, the idea of happily ever afters and of them being for everyone (ogres and fairy cursed alike). The Stepsister Scheme starts with the idea that princesses, like the rest of us, do not necessarily live happily ever after. Neither do they remain the kind of people who sit around and wait to be rescued and fairy gifts are rarely a good thing. Here Sleeping Beauty is a martial arts master from the Middle East who unconventional beauty and tragic curse led to some heinous abuse. Snow White is a mirror-witch who was forced to destroy her mother (and teacher) when her mother killed Snow's true love (and tried to kill Snow), and Cinderella is a new princess, deeply in love with her prince (who has disappeared) uncomfortable with her new position in the kingdom (which has more secrets than she expected) and has to swallow her desire to be nice in order to face down her stepsisters who still very much want to see her dead and the prince in their arms. More than just being a clever twist on fairy tales and breathing some real life psychology into the tales, The Stepsister Scheme is plain old good writing. Hines layers in the fascination of how things might really go for these very human people manipulated and traumatized by fairies (and other things) with the familiarity of the tales that borne them, as well as some truly creative bits of world building that marks this story as his own. Glass swords, haunted trees, living clothing and prehensile hair all blend right in with the traditional fairytale bits for one fantastic story. In fact the only way this could have been more enticing to me as a reader was if Hines found a way to do a side story (or few) juxtaposing fairytale fantasy with modern times (hint hint). Highly recommended, fun yet meaty The Stepsister Scheme is a great read through and through.
Stino More than 1 year ago
I bought this, the first one of the Princess Novels with really low expectations as something to read on a plane. Then I couldn't put it down. I ended up reading this entire series while on vacation, simply flying through one book after another. There are some parts where you kind of laugh and roll your eyes, but this book and all the following novels are incredibly engaging and will pull you right into the world that Hines creates. You know it's a good series when you put down the last book and are sad that it's over. If you're on the fence about it, I definitely recommend you give this book a shot. I was glad I did.
Feyth More than 1 year ago
The Stepsister Scheme is both clever and charming. Although there is no significant depth to either the characters or the plot, it is vastly entertaining. I recommend this book as one of the more enjoyable pieces of "mind candy" I've had the pleasure of reading in recent months, and I will certainly plan on purchasing the next installment in this series when it is released.
Gary_W_Olson More than 1 year ago
What happens after the ‘happily ever after’? In the case of the Princess Danielle (aka Cinderella), it involves learning to live with getting what she thought she wanted… and rescuing her prince when he ends up being the one in jeopardy. Hines’ take on the fairy tale worlds of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty mixes the darker nuances of the early versions of the tales with humor–not the ‘wokka wokka’ kind, but the more trenchant and wise kind that relies on fully-realized and nuanced characters and their observations and decisions. I enjoyed this first book in the ‘Princess Series,’ and look forward to the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you loved disney princess as a kid, you will LOVE this book. It is full of characters we already love, as well as some great new ones. This book has romance, action, fantasy, it really covers all areas, so multiple readers will enjoy these books.
carice More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. I LOVE fairy tales and have read alot of different versions of them in many different styles and this story was very new and refreshingly different. I LOVED every secound of this book. I like the charlie's angels movies and these girls are very much like them. I really like the new spin on the princesses. Hardly anyone thinks about what happens after the suposed happily ever after. Now someone has. I recomend this book completely.
NoleFanInExile More than 1 year ago
So what happened after Cinderella's wedding? Enter the imaginative world of Jim C. Hines and find out. Here Snow White is a powerful sorceress, Sleeping Beauty is a martial artist and Cinderella, well she is still finding out what she is. Together they will brave the dangers of the Fairy kingdom to rescue Price Charming. An enjoyable romp through the world of fairy tales. Be warned however, this is NOT the Disney version, here not all prince's are kind, fairies are not kindly and death is not the worst fate.
madison wiseman More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teresa Kobza More than 1 year ago
this is a great book and series
Jvstin More than 1 year ago
Jim Hines' The Stepsister Scheme is the first in a series of two (and at least a third in the pipeline books) that reimagine Fairy Tale princesses as more proactive heroines that are in no need of rescuing. Or, to put it more flippantly, Disney Princesses meet Charlie's Angels. The Stepsister Scheme introduces us to Danielle Whiteshore, Cinderella herself, newly married to Prince Armand (aka Prince Charming). Her new happy life as a Princess (and expecting a baby, no less) is short-lived, as her stepsisters, with unexpected abilities, kidnap Prince Armand for reasons unknown. Fortunately for Danielle, that serving girl Talia is secretly working for the Queen, and is a Princess herself, better known in the stories as Sleeping Beauty. Even better, she is awfully good with weapons. And it turns out that the Queen has another Princess in her service, a certain dark haired Princess named Snow White. She has arcane powers, especially with mirrors. Although Danielle cannot seemingly compete with this duo, she manages to get herself into their company on their mission to rescue Armand and figure out who or what is backing Danielle's stepsisters in this powerplay. Danielle proves to have powers and talents of her own, and takes possession of a weapon blessed by her mother, unusable by any save her. And thus, these three Princesses, armed and ready, set off to save a Prince. The book is first and foremost a light, funny and fluffy take on the idea of Disney Princesses, turning them into action heroines. it is entertaining on that level alone, but the book does go further, giving interesting speculations on the nature of faeries, reinterpreting the fairy tales the Princesses spring from, and more. There is even a bit of unexpected and tragically unrequited love (that actually is important as a plot point). Hines has clearly learned from his previous writing to make a readable and entertaining novel, whose sequels I definitely will seek out.
alexia561 More than 1 year ago
You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after..." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Danielle, aka Cinderella, did get to marry her Prince Charming and move into the royal palace, but being a princess was a lot harder than she expected. Accustomed to hard work, Danielle finds it hard to relate to any of the nobles, and equally hard to give orders to her servants. And apparently learning to be a proper princess requires memorization of a whole lot of trifling details! Her new life is suddenly shattered when her evil stepsisters reappear and kidnap her husband, Armand. Danielle decides she needs to be part of the recovery team, and joins up with Talia (aka Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (aka Snow White) to rescue him from Fairytown. These three are remarkably resourceful, and survive several adventures during their journey. Overall, this was a fun story which gave us a skewed version of some old fairy tale characters. I liked Jim Hine's take on the ladies, but couldn't help comparing them to their Shrek versions. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. I highly recommend this book for a fun, witty take on some of our old fairy tale favorites. Jim Hines is a very talented writer, and every one of his books has been worth reading!
idfcv More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the originality of this story. I definitely enjoyed the characters. I think the plot seemed hurried towards the end as if the author couldn't think of anything more to say and decided to just end it. Other than that, an overall decent read.
KurtsGirl More than 1 year ago
This is a very enjoyable story with intriquing twists on well known fairytale women. Empowering for women. I have shared this book with my best friend and family women including my 16 year old neice. We all found it fun and an easy read.
UN1C0RN More than 1 year ago
Talk about not considering the consequences. Hines definitely reworks some old favorites to give them some new and unique spice. These three princesses join up to foil old magic and show just how wrong some of those old stories went. Get a look into some of the old versions forgotten and some new twists revealed as Snow (White), Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Danielle (Cinderella), work together to find and rescue the prince kidnapped by some very unsatisfied stepsister. A real wallop in the old and new of fairy tales!
Word_forger More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesing twist on the Disney Princesses. I was very funny and an enjoyable read. If you have a sense of humor that is a little twisted you will enjoy.
Shewolf More than 1 year ago
The Stepsister Scheme is a fun romp through the world of fairy tales and the ever-after part of one of these stories. For some fairy tale princesses, the ever-afer hasn't been as happy as they would have liked - and they have done something about it. When they get a chance to help Cinderella's happily-ever-after stay on course, they are right there to help thwart the evil stepsisters in their sinister scheme to ruin the rest of the princess's life. This was a lively twist on an old fairy tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“The Stepsister Scheme” was recommended to me by a friend of mine, after a discussion of fairytale retellings. She insisted that this was a particularly good series if I was interested in that sort of thing, and though my to-read list was already long enough, I agreed to give the first book a try. Usually I am something of a skeptic when it comes to books suggested by friends of acquaintances. Not because any of them have poor taste, but because I simply prefer to select my own reading material. In this case, I was glad I took my friend’s advice. The opening book in Jim C. Hines Princess series began kind of slowly, relying on the strength of its characters to get the ball rolling. If there was any one factor that kept me reading–even when the action slowed–it was how well-developed the characters were. The three princesses were especially indicative of this fact. Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow (Snow White) are the examples I would suggest to anyone trying their hand at reworking a classic tale. While aspects of each girl’s story remained true to society’s ideas, there were plenty of differences or nuances that served to enhance each character. I was especially enthralled by the idea that there is always a difference between what is commonly known and what the truth really is. I can’t wait to see how this theme is explored throughout the series. I was only about halfway through “The Stepsister Scheme” when I added the remaining three books to my queue, and so far I don’t regret it in the slightest. It will be interesting to see where Hines takes his three princesses for the next book–especially since the fairytale he’s addressing is one I’ve always thought required some adjustments.
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GaleaRain More than 1 year ago
Jim C. Hines is a fairytale Genius! In this book you are introduced to the princesses Danielle De Glas (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White. If you think about the original princesses they are these petite, dainty girls who are fragile and cannot look after themselves. Sometimes just complete airheads. Well, Cinderella never was an airhead, she was probably the strongest, most self reliant of the three. She went through major hardships with her step family and that makes a person pretty strong. In this book, the roles are reversed. Talia is a super tough martial arts chick and Snow is a powerful sorceress. Danielle is finally a princess but I feel like becoming one took away her ability to be self reliant. She becomes a damsel in distress too easily. Thankfully she does learn to be a little better, especially with a magic sword in hand. Ok, the weapons/powers these girls have are just so awesome! Who needs men when princesses can be warriors instead. The damsel in distress gets rescued by women instead of men. Way cool! Danielle gets this cool sword made of glass that can never cut her and helps to hit her mark even though she is not a good swordswoman. Talia doesn't really need weapons because she is one but she can use weapons even more effectively. Then Snow, not only does she have snowflake throwing stars, she uses mirrors to be a sorceress almost as powerful as her mother, eventually more so. The plot is so exciting and unexpected. I was on the edge of my seat and really had to force myself to put the book down so I could sleep or work. But wow. Ok spoiler coming up so if you don't like those, stop reading now. Best twist ever in this series...Talia is gay!!! How cool is that! I love that Hines made that twist. It is so unique and shocking but really says a lot about how much our culture is changing. Better yet, she is in love with Snow and when Snow's curse gets reactivated, Talia is the one who kisses her to wake her up. I was squealing in delight at this scene! I really loved this twist. I think that is an adorable love story than the simple prince kissing princess and living happily ever after. Why can't the princesses live happily ever after together? Just amazing! The backstories of the princesses are told more along the original darker side of the story but I think that gave the girls more depth to their characters. I enjoy some darkness. It makes them seem more realistic than the perfect, flawless barbie dolls of Disney. Not that I don't love the Disney princesses but people aren't really that perfect. Hines makes the girls more down to earth and at our level of reality. They are even more relatable. I definately recommend this book to fairytale fans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great and fun read i intend to read the rest in this seriies
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is not your typical fairytale! kept me interested the whole book, looking forward to book #2.