The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1)

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess Novels Series #1)

by Jim C. Hines

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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: 9781440658693
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 01/06/2009
Series: Princess Novels , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 124,251
File size: 341 KB
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) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 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.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one had been taunting me for a long time. It seems like virtually every time I went to Barnes & Noble one of the books in this series always seemed to find its way to me, and with a title and blurb like this, I just couldn't resist. While I found myself particularly drawn to The Mermaid's Madness, being the person that I am, I always have to start at the beginning of a book series and read each volume in order so I don't miss out on something.Thus I began with The Stepsister Scheme, the first tale of a group of fairy tale princesses that are anything but damsels in distress. Danielle de Glas, previously known as Cinderella, has recently married Prince Armand, and is starting to fall into her new life as a princess. However, her scheming stepsisters have kidnapped the prince to get back at her, so she must team up with two unlikely friends to bring him back: Talia, a runaway who loathes her nickname of "Sleeping Beauty," and a magic-wielding princess who prefers to go by her nickname "Snow."Yes, the concept is somewhat silly, and a little ridiculous, but it actually brings a more realistic approach to age-old fairy tales and allows the damsel, for once, to go save their prince (instead of the other way around). It was hard not to enjoy such a fun concept, and to just let myself go along for the ride. The writing was well-done and fast-paced, with great action and an exciting trio of characters that were real, but still could kick some serious butt. Something of a guilty pleasure, Stepsister Scheme was a fun, and somewhat silly read that doesn't take itself too seriously. Will I read the other books? Heck yes -how could I say no when it was this much fun?
ladycato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cinderella - aka Danielle - thought she found her happily-ever-after. She married her prince, toured the kingdom, and has discovered she has the funny knack to talk to animals. But when one of her stepsisters breaks into the castle and tries to assassinate her with some peculiarly powerful witchcraft, it's obvious that something is very wrong. As her stepsister escapes, she announces that they have the Prince - Armand - in their possession. Fortunately for Danielle, a woman by the name of Talia comes to her rescue. Talia was Sleeping Beauty, and her fairy-endowed gifts make her a martial arts master. It turns out Snow White lives in the castle, too, and has mastered healing and mirror magic. Together they set off for Fairy Town to rescue the Prince.This book was a fun frolic through various fairy tales. It's not a light and fluffy book, though; in that sense, it really draws deeply on the old, original tales much more so than the Disney versions. The three female leads are all quite distinct and likable. I'll definitely seek out the next two books in the series as they are released - I especially want to find out more about Little Red Riding Hood being the most feared assassin in the land.
kingoftheicedragons on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So you think you know the stories of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Sleeping Beauty? Cinderella? Think again. And what happens after the "Happy Ever After?"Jim C. Hines takes us to the world of fairy tales with his newest series of books. It starts off with the book "The Stepsister Scheme," picking up after Cinderella's wedding. Things begin to get interesting when one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters tries to murder her in her own quarters, and then it's revealed that Prince Armand has been kidnapped and taken to Fairytown. It's then up to Cinderella and her two new acquaintances, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, to go and try to rescue him and bring him home. Complicating matters a wee bit is the fact that Cinderella 1)is pregnant, and 2)has no combat experience, unlike her two companions. There is no shortage of action in the book, whether it's Sleeping Beauty trying to train Cinderella how to actually fight with a sword to confrontation with Cinderella's evil stepsisters or their minions along the way. It keeps you reading as you turn the pages to see what these three Charlie's Angels-esque characters are going to run into next. I know this book is fantasy, and in the land of make-believe and fairy tales, anything can happen, though at some points the usual suspension of disbelief can't be overcome, though, as things are just too conventient or over-the-top. One point of the book I don't care for is near the beginning as they are at Cinderella's former home and it turns out that her mother's spirit is in a tree in the backyard and ends up giving Cinderella her magical sword. Otherwise, this is a great book and a fairly quick read, as Mr. Hines puts his own twist on the classic fairy tales. Sometimes, though, his twist may be a little bit too twisted--specifically regarding the method of which Sleeping Beauty says actually woke her up. In a way, it serves to illustrate that life is never as easy as it seems in the stories, that everyone is human, and bad things happen to good people. So, while the overall feel of the book is fun, there are dark elements to the story as well.
Rubbah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun, fantasy read that takes three well know princess charetsr and completely turns them around. Talia(sleeping beauty) is a martial arts master, Snow(Snow White) is a powerful sorceress with many of her mother's gifts, and Daniella(Cinderella) is about to embark on her happily ever after life with her prince.However, her stepsisters return, having dablled in black magic to call up help to gain their revenge, and kidnap the prince. They take him into fairyland, and Daniella, with help of the Queen's secret service(Talia and Snow) must save him before it's too late...I loved how this book incorporated several versions of the known and less known variants of the fairytales for example, Sleeping Beauty which has a very dark story in the 15th Italian variant.Overall, great if you love fairytale retelings and heroines that don't conform to stereotypes.
thelittlebookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Danielle (aka Cinderella) has married her prince and is living happily ever after. That is until her stepsisters decided to take revenge on her for messing up their plans. They kidnap her husband and take him to Fairytown and try to assassinate her. It's up to Danielle and the Queen's "special forces," Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (White), to help her rescue her prince.The stories of the princesses is based on the old school stories, not the cleaned up for the kids versions you hear today so expect some darker tones. You don't have to know exactly how those stories go, but I knew what had really happened to them before it was explained in the book. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this book, but I raced through it. I loved how the princesses are portrayed and how Talia is such a badass. I loved the little details like Snow's snowflake shaped throwing disc and her mirror magic. And I loved how the dwarfs are fitted into the story. This was definitely a good read and I can't wait for the next book, The Mermaid's Madness.
ca.bookwyrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So, this book drew my attention based on the cover and the title long before I knew anything about the premise. And I¿m glad it did! It¿s a really fun, rather cute book.

The premise in question is that the fairy tales are true, but the grapevine has tweaked the details a bit. For instance, the reason Cinderella wore glass slippers to the ball is because her father was a glass maker - but her name was never ¿Ella.¿ And she didn¿t ride to the ball in an enchanted pumpkin, never mind the mice.

I love well written stories that play with fairy tales, and this one is no exception. It take Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, and just plays. Some of the tales we know are intact, and others are treated as gossip. It also combines myths and stories about other types of fairies. Trolls live under bridges, the king and queen of Fairyland could have come straight off the pages of ¿A Midsummer Night¿s Dream,¿ and everyone always asks for your unborn child (even if said child is not yet conceived) as payment. It¿s a very fun book.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What happens when Cinderella marries? The afterwards is never mentioned. What if her sisters decided to take revenge? Sleeping Beauty and Snow White join forces when Cinderella's husband is kidnapped.It's a fun read, nothing to rock the world too hard but fun all the same.
rivkat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cinderella, newly returned from her honeymoon, comes under attack from her vengeful stepsisters, and, worse, they steal her husband away. Fortunately, her own stepmother sends Snow White and Sleeping Beauty (whose stories are also not exactly the way they¿re told by Disney) with her to rescue him. It¿s basically fun fantasy adventure with ass-kicking women (including Snow, who is a lecherous bookworm, which made me like her a lot), though of course there is a tragic rape backstory for one of them.
CornerDemon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book. The book's description does it justice - "Charlie's Angels meets Disney Princesses". And while that does imply a good deal of fluff, the story has a lot of meat to it - and actually not much fluff at all.The story centers around the Cinderella character, Danielle, who is joined quickly by bodyguards Sleeping Beauty (Talia) and Snow White. The plot is established quickly, with little dilly-dallying of setup, but that makes it more fun, as Hines slowly unveils which version of the fairy tale each princess hails from. The author has a lot of fun writing the world they live in, and creating solid, well-built characters. There are some darker moments, which lends some heft to the read, too. I especially liked how he made some of the more unbelievable twists believable, and how everything hinted fell into place eventually. There are a few sniggles to complain about, but the book is fun, fast-paced, and gets you excited to read the next one. For a light read, I'd definitely pick this one up.