Cinderella Cablepunk is a trademark of Stephen Oravec. Why? I don’t know. And if I am being honest, that sums up my opinion of this book. There is a girl named Cinderella, an evil step-mother, a formal ball, and a prince. But there are also robot dragons, wizards, a Pegasus, assorted Greek gods and their kin, and a variety of magical entities that should make the mythology geek in me happy. Instead, I was left scratching my head trying to understand what I was supposed to be reading.
I think the issue for me is that the author is trying to cram too many genres into one book. This is something I am seeing more and more in modern fiction; it reminds me of the old cliché about being a Jack of all trades but a Master of none. Instead of just focusing on telling an engaging story, we have a disjointed narrative that is trying to straddle fantasy, steampunk, New Adult, Young Adult, chick lit, and romance simultaneously. And as a result, it doesn’t do any of them well.
The saving grace of the book is Cinderella herself, who despite the bizarre scenarios she encounters in the book comes across as a quirky but grounded heroine that is surprisingly relatable. She is a genuinely likeable, fully-realized character that readers can support. In fact, most of the main characters themselves are engaging and well-developed. Oravec does a fine job with the character creation aspect. Unfortunately, the characters are stuck in a convoluted narrative that isn’t sure what sort of story it wants to tell.