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 Amazon, B&N and Smashwords if you don’t like reading on your computer.
Review by Brie
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.