Mary's Reviews > The Reluctant Godfather (The Tales of Ambia)

The Reluctant Godfather (The Tales of Ambia) by Allison Tebo
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The Reluctant Godfather is a delightful and entertaining novella and an incredibly original and twisty retelling of Cinderella. It is one of the best books I have read in recent memory – and certainly the most entertaining I have read in many years! I only wish it had been longer, but I made sure to enjoy and savor each page, laughing through all of it and experiencing every emotion along with the characters.

My favorite part was definitely the characters. Good character development is always my favorite aspect of a great book, and Allison's writing and characters always go infinitely above and beyond that requirement. I never fail to be amazed at how incredibly vivid, complex, endearing, and deep each one of her characters is, no matter what story they are in. I greatly admire the way she develops each character's personality, flaws, inner and outer dialogue, backstory, and character change. The characters in The Reluctant Godfather were no exception.

Burndee was a wonderful and entertaining point-of-view character, and seeing the story from his perspective was so enjoyable – and original! Who would've thought that the story of Cinderella could be told from the perspective of the fairy godfather . . . a fairy godfather who doesn't like being one? And what a personality Burndee was! Stubborn, bad-tempered, sardonic, and rebellious, yet forever lovable – and perhaps with potential for a soft and caring heart underneath, although he would never admit it even to himself. Seeing his transformation over the course of the book was such a treat, and his character development was masterful!

Of course I loved Burndee from the very first, and each of the other main characters earned my love in turn. Sweet Ella, clever Colin, and vivacious Cynthia endeared themselves to me just as much, and I loved many of the supporting characters as well. And even the most minor heralds and footmen leaped off the page with lifelike mannerisms, dialogue, and appearance. The inevitable nasty characters were no exception, and they were vivid in their own right – and so fun to detest – while still being human, however nasty they were. Each character had such an interesting and deep character arc, and it was wonderful to watch them change and learn over the course of the story. And I loved seeing the interactions and relationships between the characters, whether between friends, potential love interests, or enemies. The humorous, teasing banter between Burndee and Colin was one of my favorite parts of the book, as was the sweet friendship of Burndee and Ella. Yet Burndee's relationships with both his wards was complicated and convoluted, and I loved seeing the exploration and progression of each. And those were not the only interesting relationsips to be had. . . .

Nearly every good fairytale must have romance, yet the romantic elements in this book were so unexpected that Allison kept me guessing right up until the end with delicious suspense. I knew what I wanted to happen at the end, but I was unable to predict whether it would – yet everything worked out even more satisfactorily than I could ever have hoped! I cannot mention what that ending was for fear of spoilers, but suffice it to say that I was rooting for a perfect and happy ending for all concern – and did the ending ever deliver! My expectations were huge, and the ending still blew all of them away with it's amazing-ness. Much squealing from yours truly ensued throughout the book, but especially at the end.

Not only were there amazing characters in this book, but the plot was also masterful. I was in suspense for the entire book, and the suspense only crescendoed as the end of the book drew near, culminating in a wonderful climax that more than paid off the anticipation that had been built through the book. So many threads of events and backstory were woven together in a twisty, interesting cloth, and all of the threads were tied up in an extravagant bow at the end – overwhelming even my own high expectations.

This book has such an enjoyable and engaging writing style. I love the way Allison seamlessly integrates dazzling descriptions, rich dialogue, eloquent narration, laugh-out-loud humor, and lively, entertaining escapades.

The fairytale elements in this story were just right. The book kept many familiar and recognizable aspects of the traditional story of Cinderella, yet turned others completely on their heads. It is the most original and unexpected fairytale retelling I have ever read – new and refreshing instead of boring and cliché. The twists were perfect for the story and felt completely right, but they were often totally unpredictable, and they more often than not used the opposite element or event than the well-known tale. Skillful foreshadowing tied all of these things together into a cohesive whole – both traditional and unexpected elements.

The humor was one of the best parts of the book! Allison is one of the funniest people I know, and this book showcased her ability to entertain. I laughed often throughout the book and, especially, laughed my way nonstop through the entire last quarter of the book, during each line, paragraph, and page. Burndee was hilarious!! And so were all the other characters! I particularly loved Burdnee's unique character voice, dialogue, and point-of-view narration, which sparked with wit and humor – and hysterical, zany expressions and terms that sizzled from his biting tongue and sharp mind. It also included many wonderful words from Burndee's prodigious vocabulary, and they gave the story such character while meshing perfectly with the existing character and writing.

In addition to delightful laughs and humor, The Reluctant Godfather was refreshingly deep, with wonderful themes. Disguised within this lighthearted fairytale are profound and beautiful truths about people, life, and much more. Burndee must learn how to open his heart. Ella strives to love others . . . and seeks someone who will truly love her. Colin struggles to find his own desires and battles against the expectations placed upon him. And many other characters also have their own journeys that share insight with the reader, whether or not they are likeable or good. There is wisdom to be gleaned from analysis of even the nasty stepmother and stepsister.

Overall, The Reluctant Godfather is a wonderful, humorous, and sweet read that will be enjoyed by everyone whether or not they are a fan of typical fairytales and fantasy. I recommend it highly to all and have already gushed to many of my friends and family about it.
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Quotes Mary Liked

Allison Tebo
“What other lost soul has the misfortune to have you as their fairy godfather?”
Allison Tebo, The Reluctant Godfather

Allison Tebo
“Neat' was the highest superlative possible from Burndee and it was not a word that he often used...unless he was describing something he had done. 'Neat'--without even 'very' or 'really' attached to it--was extremely high praise from Burndee.”
Allison Tebo, The Reluctant Godfather

Allison Tebo
“You humans certainly have your hearts set on being happy, don’t you?”
Allison Tebo, The Reluctant Godfather


Reading Progress

January 4, 2017 – Shelved
January 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
April 11, 2017 – Started Reading
April 13, 2017 –
page 16
12.7% "This book is incredibly delightful, entertaining, sweet, and hilarious from the very first page! I am enjoying it immensely!! And I love all the wonderful characters, of course. :)"
April 21, 2017 –
page 28
22.22% "Such an enjoyable, original retelling! I have been laughing for most of the book, alternating with moments that evoke sadness. And it is really heating up for the climax! I am riveted!"
April 24, 2017 –
page 31
24.6% "I just can't wait to see how it ends!! I have no idea what is about to happen, but I know it will be amazing!"
April 24, 2017 –
page 37
29.37% "I have been laughing and laughing nonstop for pages on end! Punctuated by squeals as the romantic suspense finally comes to fruition... :D What an utterly delightful, entertaining, and well-written book this is! An immense pleasure to read and enjoy!!"
April 25, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 26, 2017 –
100.0% "That. Was. AMAZING!!!! So good!!! I will be writing my review shortly. :)"
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: fairytale-retellings
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites-all-time
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: indie-author
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: read-in-2017
April 28, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
December 3, 2017 – Started Reading
December 3, 2017 –
page 7
5.56% "I was already laughing hard at the second paragraph! I love this book so much! <3

It's strange but wonderful reading a book I helped edit for publication. Now if only I can turn off my inner editor and just enjoy it without paying attention to punctuation . . . LOL! :)"
December 9, 2017 –
page 69
54.76% "I've been laughing constantly during the whole book! At Burndee, in particular, and even more when he's with Colin. And alternating with the hilarity are such sweetness, sadness, and heartwarming moments. I love it all so much!!"
December 18, 2017 –
100.0% "Gracious, I love this little book so much!!! The ending is so perfect! I love how the climax is by turns a hilarious uproar of confusion - and a bittersweet, joyous, and emotional resolution. And the very end is the sweetest ever!"
December 18, 2017 – Finished Reading
January 31, 2018 – Shelved as: kingdom-fantasy
February 1, 2018 – Shelved as: family-stories
February 28, 2018 – Shelved as: made-me-laugh
May 8, 2018 – Shelved as: medical-or-healer-characters
May 27, 2018 – Shelved as: redheaded-characters
July 9, 2018 – Shelved as: noble-or-royal-characters
November 19, 2018 – Shelved as: my-favorite-literary-couples
November 27, 2018 – Shelved as: recs-from-allison
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: family-surrogate-or-adoptive
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: family-siblings
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-on-kindle
December 1, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-by-me
December 8, 2018 – Shelved as: novellas-and-short-stories
December 9, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites-recent
January 6, 2019 – Shelved as: covers-i-love
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: smart-characters
February 23, 2019 – Shelved as: to-reread
June 15, 2019 – Started Reading
June 15, 2019 –
page 12
9.52% "I'm so happy to be rereading this series for the third time. It never fails to warm my heart and make me laugh out loud.

And I'm excited to read the next installment! It's coming.... :D"
June 15, 2019 –
page 46
36.51% "I'm just as delighted by this book as ever, and laughing just as much!

I especially relish seeing Burndee's character development. It's hilarious to watch him deny the fact that he has a heart--and so sweet to watch him come to that and other realizations.

And his personality is awesome and hysterical. I love him so much, along with each of the other main characters. They're such a great bunch!!"
June 16, 2019 –
page 76
60.32% "Burndee and a certain someone are such a great duo. He thinks he's so brilliant--and he is--but he's very idiotic and clueless in many ways, including any and all matters of the heart.

And he thinks she's dim-witted, but she's actually intelligent--just not in the ways he is. She's smart in all the ways he's NOT. Including things of the heart...

They balance each other out--a perfect pair."
June 16, 2019 –
page 76
60.32% "Another thing--this book is vivid enough that I swear I could faintly taste the rich, creamy, chocolate-y goodness of Burndee's triple chocolate masterpiece of a cake. Especially the icing, because I know Burndee's is the rare good kind. Yum!

That's significant--because I haven't tasted chocolate or actual cake in 4.5 years, and never will again. (Don't worry, I'm not jealous! I'm usually immune to minding.)"
June 18, 2019 –
page 126
100.0% "*beams contentedly* This book makes me so happy, and I adore it just as much as ever. :))) It's amazing every time!"
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: re-read
June 18, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
June 18, 2019 – Finished Reading

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Mary Awww, you're welcome....and thank you for a wonderful book!! <3


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