Rating: 2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Younger YA readers and maybe older MG readers
High point: Cinderella as a ninja warrior
Low point: Ninjas should probably stick to the big screen
Reader maturity: 10+
The thing I had to keep telling myself while reading Cinderella: Ninja Warrior is that I had to redirect my expectations. When I finally managed to look upon it as a book that's supposed to be a little cheesy and over-the-top, it was a much more fun experience.
Fairytale retellings can feel confined to a set storyline, but Maureen McGowan maneuvers around that issue by making Cinderella a magician/ninja warrior. Regarding that particular aspect of the book, I understand the link between the two (discipline and self-control are necessary for both) but fail to see the connection otherwise (or how Cinderella managed to teach herself acrobatics with just a cat and a book as guides...).
This book has a neat set-up in that it's kind of a choose-your-own-adventure, only less cheesy and with much better plot development. Cinderella has to put up a convincing fight for what she believes in. However, I found her character to be a bit wishy-washy. She's all about girl-power one moment and self-doubt the next, traits that were expressed as extremes rather than nuances. Ninja skills also don't translate very well to text; the descriptions tended to lose my attention.
On the positive side of things, I thought the magician/ninja warrior angle very creative, and I had a lot of fun reading about Cinderella. Yes, the rules of magic and Cinderella's captivity weren't fully fleshed out, but overlooking that allows a lighthearted novel of action and adventure to shine through.
Title: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
Author: Maureen McGowan
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy, Fairytale
Book Source: Won from Lost for Words