March 6, 2012

Review: Ember by Bettie Sharpe

I read this novella a couple of weeks ago and I was so enchanted by it that I couldn't wait to tell you about it. I wasn't familiar with Ms. Sharpe’s work but since the book was free and the reviews were good I decided to give it a try. After reading the first chapter I bought the Kindle edition so I could read it more comfortably, that’s how good it was.

Ember is a retelling of the Cinderella story. It’s literally an adult version of the fairytale, but it maintains enough elements of the original so that the reader can make the connection, but the real appeal comes from all the differences and how the author was able to make this story her own.

Once upon a time a Prince was born. A witch, who, depending on where you stand could be good or evil, used a spell to, again, depending on where you stand, either charm or curse him. From that day on the Prince would be literally irresistible, everyone would love him, everyone would like him and no one would ever be able to deny him anything.

Ember’s mother was also a witch, and recognizing the Prince for what he truly was, forbade Ember to ever lay eyes upon him. Sadly, one day the Prince went past their home and Ember was unable to resist the spell, but since she was, not only a powerful witch (this book is full of witches) but also a strong young woman, she was able to look away and run. However, the damage was done her mother, who was already dying of an incurable disease, gave her life so that Ember could have a charm to protect her from the Prince’s influence. And that’s how Ember used all the pain and anger from that day to become a powerful witch and make to never see Prince Charming again, her life’s goal.

I know that my description of the book makes it sound as everything but Cinderella, but believe me, the story is there and it’s easily recognizable. Most of the important details have been given an extreme makeover, but remain the same at their core. I won’t give away more because part of why this story works so well is discovering those revamped details that bring you joy just by how original they are presented in the book.

The main character, Ember, bears no resemblance to Cinderella. Where the original character was a poor, abused dormant who needed constant rescuing, Ember is a strong, resilient and clever woman who does all the rescuing herself. One of the reasons she worked so well as a heroine was that even though there was an inherent vulnerability to her, she was, above all, independent and strong. I loved her self-awareness and how clever and inventive she was. Romance heroines should take note and try to learn a thing or two from Ember.

We don’t get to see much of the Prince, mostly because the book is told in first person from Ember's POV, so his character remains a mystery almost until the end, but it doesn’t matter because he isn’t the real hero. I’ll leave it at that because what’s the point of telling you all, right? Just be certain that this is a romance and, just like every fairytale, it has a happily ever after.

The last thing you should know is that this is an erotic tale. The sex scenes and the language are pretty graphic, there’s nothing Disney about Ember. When I said this was the adult version of Cinderella I wasn’t exaggerating.

I was so surprised by how good this book was. After so many retellings of such a classic story you think that you have seen and read them all, but Ember is proof that there are still ways to be original and clever. Absolutely recommended to everyone, as long as you don’t mind that there’s a scene where Cinderella Ember masturbates, and that she uses quite colorful language.

Note: as I said you can read the novella for free here, or buy it on AmazonB&N and Smashwords if you don’t like reading on your computer. 

Review by Brie
Grade: 4.5
Sensuality: McSteamy


Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost. 

Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm. 

Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.

Ember by Bettie Sharpe
Bettie Sharpe. February 24, 2011.


  1. Sounds really good Brie. Am getting this one :)

  2. I haven't read many re-tellings that I can remember but this one sounds like a good one to give a try. I like the turn around of it and the almost realistic circumstances in that the Prince ends up desiring the one woman who doesn't want him. Reflective of real life. I'll have to add this to the TBR.

    1. I like the turn around of it and the almost realistic circumstances in that the Prince ends up desiring the one woman who doesn't want him.

      I'm glad you picked up on that, because that's exactly what happens, the Prince becomes obsessed with finding her and she becomes obsessed with hiding from him. Very clever story, I enjoyed it very much.

  3. Oooh! Now this one sounds GREAT, Brie! I recently read and loved CINDER so I think an adult version/re-telling sounds kick-arse, not to mention the fact that Ember sounds like an amazing heroine. I might not have found this one without your review, so thank you!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. Is Cinder another retelling? I feel like reading more Cinderella-like stories, I'll check it out. I don't know if your read m/m but Marie Sexton has a novella out that I think is also based on Cinderella.

      Ember is an amazing heroine! I can't believe this story is free, I think it's worth more than $0.99. She has another book that's a retelling of Puss in Boots, that's the one I'm reading next!

  4. I remember several years ago when the buzz was high for this book. Everyone loved it and I always meant to read it. In fact, I still have the link bookmarked!! I totally forgot about it. You've inspired me to read it. And I adore fairy tell retellings! What is wrong with me! lol!

    1. Her other fairy tale retold, the one about Puss in Boots, is up for this year’s DABWAHA! I’m looking forward to reading it. Ms. Sharpe has an incredible imagination so read Ember ASAP because you are going to love it!

  5. I really enjoyed this as I love fairy tale retellings and Cinderella is my favorite though the adult scenes were a little much for me. I also really liked the Puss in Boots retelling-I bet you will too!

    1. Yes, the adult scenes are not for everyone, especially if you pick up the book thinking it will be a sweet fairy tale.

      I’ve got Cat’s Tale on my Kindle waiting to be read as soon as I find the time.

      I read on her website that one of her works in progress is a sequel to Ember, the heroine is Ember and the Prince’s daughter, so I’m looking forward to reading that one too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. its only ten chapters right?

    1. I can't remember exactly, but I'm almost sure it's 10.


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