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The Stepsister Scheme

(Princess #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  5,056 ratings  ·  677 reviews
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?" Hines delivers a new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. Original.


You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach
Mass Market Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by DAW (first published December 17th 2008)
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Vici Doore This entire series discusses the various ways that "True Love" can come about and still be valid. Friendships, parental bonds, romantic interest that …moreThis entire series discusses the various ways that "True Love" can come about and still be valid. Friendships, parental bonds, romantic interest that may or may not be unrequited, arranged marriages that take time and work to develop love over time after the fact, etc. It also brushes on toxic relationships of various sorts. I wouldn't mark any of these books as being particularly romantic overall, but romantic entanglements are explored over the course of the series as sub-arcs, particularly in the last two books.(less)

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Anzu The Great Destroyer
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fairy tale re-tellings, anti-Disney, tough heroines, stepsisters, pigeons and rats
Indulge not overmuch in wine or beer. Pick not thy nose, scratch not thy rear, and all shall say “A lady sits here.”

A true lady’s lesson in life.

Only one of my Goodreads friends read this book. Of course this made me think that maybe it won’t be so good. Why else would people not know of The Stepsister Scheme?

Why else? I’ll tell you why else. Because of all this mainstream crap that’s flying around, that’s why!

I enjoyed this book so much. When I first read the summary I instantly fell in
One of the more recent cultural phenomenon is the rise of the Disney princesses. Everywhere you look, you see young girls wearing Disney Princess gear. On Halloween, young girls dress up as Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and Snow White. Even Mulan has been declared an honorary princess (how, I don't know. Can someone explain it to me?). Some women have expressed concerned about young girls being, well, girly, and lacking good role models. The Disney princesses, in other words, seem to be a tamer ver ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
While I'd had The Stepsister Scheme on my radar for while now, it was only because of Jim C. Hines social presence that I finally decided to give it a try. Whether he's poking fun at fantasy cover poses, talking about important topics like depression and diversity, or demonstrating the absurdity of the sad puppies mess, he's a clever geek a with a good head on his shoulders.

I wanted to like his fiction, and it may be that I just picked the wrong book to begin with, but The Stepsister Scheme fell
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tale
I first heard of Jim Hines when someone forwarded me this blog where he attempts to recreate sexy cover heroine poses: He seemed pretty cool so I decided to read one of his books. This one was a relatively random choice, and I don't know how it compares to his other books.

I'm sorry this wasn't published when I was in high school, because I'm sure I would have loved it then. At this point in my life this wasn't genuinely a 4-star read in terms of my enjoy
Jan 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans who enjoy clever concepts
I really love retold fairy tales, but I also have what I think should not be a terribly picky rule: a clever concept is not a substitute for a story. A disappointingly large number of so-called "fractured fairy tales" fail this simple test, and the cover art and blurb for this book were not very promising, to the point where I would not have picked it up at all if I hadn't been rather impressed with this author's book Goblin Quest , which had a clever concept and a very good story. This book ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Disney princesses, Princes in need of rescue, pervy gnomes
This is very light, very enjoyable fantasy. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it reminded me of Terry Pratchett and Bill Willingham and Piers Anthony (not the pervy Piers Anthony, which is to say, 90% of his output, but the guy who occasionally writes about female characters without drooling on his keyboard).

Danielle Whiteshore is the "Cinderella" of legend. She married her Prince, they got busy on their wedding night, and just when she's starting to think it really is a dream co
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. Hines is one of a few authors whose internet presence doesn't come across as an egotistical gasbag, and you cannot imagine how this predisposes me to liking him. But this book!

First, obviously, lots of people do like this book, since it has sequels, and his editors presumably know their business, but I could not. I made it through the first two chapters only by mentally writing increasingly hysterical editorial directions to Hines, at which point I gave up. This book'
Jim C. Hines is honestly one of my favorite authors, even though he's never written a book that I've lost my mind* over. What he writes is solid, fun fantasy with a strong feminist backbone. He also seems to have a thing for championing the underdog, and writing stories that subvert traditional story-types. The Princess series, of which I've read all but the last book at the time of writing this review, is particularly notable as all the main characters are ladies, and a significant part of the ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is not a goblin book like Jim's three other books, Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, and Goblin War. You may have been clued in by the three kick-ass women on the cover.

Remember that scene in Shrek 3? The kick ass one with Led Zeppelin in the background?

Okay, imagine that - except funnier, with more plot, and fully realized characters. And more actual fairy tale stuff. This book is what that one scene wants to be when it grows up. The women are fully realized people, the action is packed, and the
Blodeuedd Finland
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I am glad I finally read a Hines book, cos this was funny. And it was fantasy! And it was fairytales.

Danielle aka Cinderwench aka Cinderella finally got her prince. And all is well. Well for a time.

Danielle was sweet, she was nice, she was nicer than I would have been, but hey she could throw a punch (not always literally) too.

Armand her prince, well he was not in it a lot since the poor bastard got himself kidnapped. Silly men always getting kidnapped so the women has to do the dirty work.

Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was ok

I really wanted to like this book and was even initially excited when I got it. Sadly it didn't turn out well for me. I felt like I had to force myself to read because once I start, I don't want to leave a book unfinished.

For one, the story focused heavily on description. It mostly details sequences for the majority of the story which would've been okay the plot had been a bit more complex. However, the story could be summarized as: Cindrella's prince gets kidnapped, Snow White & Sleeping beauty
Briar's Reviews
The Stepsister Scheme is a crazy, comical and thrilling take on fairy tale lore we've all heard before.

Fairy tales? Yeah, those things you read as a kid? Most of them are wrong! Those incorrect stories are being retold in a fantastical, adventure filled story that will leave you breathless!

Three of our favourite princesses, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, come together like Charlie's Angels to rescue Cinderella's husband - Prince Armand. Danielle, Cinderella, married Prince Armand an
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Sep 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by: Nan
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
Since the night she escaped her drudgery to go to the ball where she caught the eye of Prince Armand and danced with him, leaving behind one of her glass slippers which he used to find her, Danielle has known happiness. Her new life as Princess has had its moments, and she keeps trying to befriend the palace servants, but she loves her prince and she's escaped her hellish life as servant to her stepmother and stepsisters.

Until, a few short months after the wedding, her stepsister Charlotte turns
"Do we look like we need to be rescued?"

Exciting, non-stop action and adventure - with three princesses from three different fairy tales. These are not the demure and ineffective females we associate with Disney or even Grimm. These ladies are strong, well-developed, well-rounded and three-dimensional: who need no prince to come and save them. In fact, in this tale, they are the ones who go on a hero's journey to save the prince!

For someone who is tired of seeing degrading and unself-aware rubbi
After reading quite a few of Jim Hines' blog posts and quite enjoying his humor and approach to the world, I figured it was long past time to give his actual books a shot. This seems to be the usual starting point, and after reading it I can see why: it's a fun, light romp of a retelling, nothing too complicated but very enjoyable all in all. The characters don't develop, persay, but the reader's perception and understanding of them does - Hines does a good job of slowly fleshing out their backg ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
This book is thoroughly charming. My socks have been completely charmed off my feet, so it's good that I have blankets and a dog to keep my toes warm.

I am so, so glad that I purchased this book. It is clever, has a good plot, has fun use of magic and fighting, and had I not been feeling like death warmed over, may have made me laugh until I cried. As it was, it made me smile really big a couple of times, which is a huge reaction right now.

I had this book highly recommended by other folks who lik
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
For some reason I just couldn't really get into it even though it was a good story. I think I just wasn't in the mood to read this type of book. I just picked a bad time to read it I guess.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines is a fresh spin on what happens after the happily ever after of various Grimm fairy tales. In a fantasy world where Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are real princesses but the stories are mostly rumors, Cinderella (whose real name is Danielle) has only been married to her prince a short while when he suddenly disappears. Add to that her stepsister trying to assassinate her and the weird servant girl who saved her, and Danielle is just having a bad ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
(I don't know if anyone would consider this a spoilery review, so please be warned . . .)

Danielle is the princess formerly known as Cinderwench. Predictibly, she's having a hard time settling into her new role in life, despite the fact that she genuinely loves her husband. She has a hard time establishing a relationship with her servants, as she finds it difficult to tell them what to do and to allow them to do their own work. She doesn't enjoy learning the protocol she needs to know. However, a
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fairytale, 2008
This is a fun book. A quick read filled with action, magic and humor.

The story starts with Cinderella, 'real' name Danielle de Glas, mere months after the classic fairy tale ends, at a time she should be busy living happily ever after. Instead Danielle's husband, Prince Armand, gets kidnapped by her stepsisters. Aided by Talia (also known as Sleeping Beauty), whose fairy blessings grant her some mean fighting skills and Snow (White of course), a sorceress using mirror magic, Danielle sets out to
Aug 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: commented, fiction
This book made me think a lot about girls going through puberty. It's an age when they're starting to find their way in our, grown-up world but are themselves still touched by the glimmering magic of childhood. This is a book for all of those girls... and maybe their parents too.

It's for girls who are taught that girls are weak, and who need role-models better than the Paris Hiltons and Bella Swans of our world. It's for girls who are old enough to see through the "childish" fairy tales but have
Dani 🌙
Dec 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was a great mix of dark and light and highly entertaining to read. The various characters were hilarious and I liked their connections with each other.

Strong Points:
-I loved the dark and light moments in the book. Some parts were unexpectedly gruesome, and others lighthearted and fun. This mix made it highly entertaining.
-I also really liked the way the plot went at the end
-Loved the concept of the princess saving her prince.
-The characters were awesome, but see weak points for a lit
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in, 2009, fantasy
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 ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not as light-hearted as Hines' "Goblin" series. Actually, it's a really odd mix. On the one hand, there's banter and humor, on the other hand, there's rape and murder there too. And the end-result is... well, odd. The princesses are likable, that's true. But I have to admit that by the end of the book I was starting to get really bored/annoyed with them. I can't really put my finger on what bothered me so much. Maybe it was their inability to cooperate? Or better said, the author's inability to ...more
Kayt O'Bibliophile
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Fairy tales would have you believe that happily ever after is the ending to any story.

Fairy tales lie.

When Danielle's (a.k.a. Cinderella) husband is kidnapped, she enlists the aid of Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (White), whose stories are much darker than tales would have you believe.

As someone who loves retold fairy tales, this was a great story. It doesn't just retell them--the tales themselves are backstory, and we learn the truth as the story goes on--but it takes fairy tale elements and
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
A friend recommended this to me, knowing my penchant for Disney Princesses. These gals ain't anything like the Disney princesses, more like the fairy tales I read growing up. HOwever, I didn't really care for the girls. Talia/Sleeping Beauty is kind of a mean person with a major chip on her shoulder from all that time spent sleeping. Snow White is more like a teenage boy's fantasy than a real person, and Cinderella/Danielle really wasn't that enchanting. I won't be reading any more of the series ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
This started out slightly obnoxious, but I figured maybe it was just a rough start. Lots of books get better as they go on. Except before I got 100 pages in, it tripped my Most Hated Trope (see here, and I just couldn't finish. (Yes, yes, you go ahead and read about that stuff, I will not.)

I made it past that in the Mercy Thompson because I actually cared about the character - it took several books to get to that point. This didn't make it. I can't recommend it.
Somehow I thought this is a funny retelling with our well-known fairy tale characters, but it is by no means! Even if there are some scenes to giggle, it is more an action packed twist on their happily ever after. Snow white, Cinderella and Sleeping beauty are based on the original (bloody) Grimm fairy tales but differs in some interesting ways. The story itself lacks a bit sometimes, but the magic system and the thrilling finale balance this out very well.

It is #1 of a series, but can be read
Patrick Burgess
Sep 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone, really, it's just not for me
Shelves: reviewed

I tried. I really did. It's not a bad book, but I just couldn't get into it. It was a great premise, but it didn't go the way I thought it was going to. Maybe it seemed a little too contrived? A little too contemporary? I think I was expecting something a little bit MORE out there... somewhere... over a rainbow or rabbit-hole or magic faraway tree. Or something.

Just couldn't do it...
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
I thought the concept was pretty good and really wanted to like this book, but just never felt like I got into it. The plot was rather simplistic, the characters a little too flat (although with potential), and the humor not humorous enough. It starts off doing a good job playing off of the "story that you've heard is not the real story" angle of the fairy tales, but in the long run just falls back onto common tropes.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Stepsister Scheme 1 3 Jul 21, 2013 06:23PM  

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Jim C. Hines is the author of the Magic ex Libris series, the Princess series of fairy tale retellings, the humorous Goblin Quest trilogy, and the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. His latest novel is Terminal Uprising, book two in the humorous science fiction Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. He’s an active blogger, and won the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Jim lives in Michigan ...more

Other books in the series

Princess (4 books)
  • The Mermaid's Madness (Princess, #2)
  • Red Hood's Revenge (Princess, #3)
  • The Snow Queen's Shadow (Princess, #4)

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