ARC Review: A Spark in the Cinders by Jenny Elder Moke

*I was given a copy of A Spark in the Cinders in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Disney Publishing and Jenny Elder Moke*


Aralyn has lost everything – the coveted glass slipper, the prince’s hand in marriage, and her only chance to save her mother and sister from destitution. Now she spends her days sweeping the cinders and washing dresses as her stepsister Ellarose once did, plotting her revenge against the girl who robbed her of her future.

But when Ellarose, now the princess, comes to beg her help with saving the kingdom from ruin, Aralyn sees the opportunity to seize everything she’s ever wanted. She discovers a prophecy, an ancient blade from the original fairy godfather of the kingdom of Novador that could restore the kingdom to its former prosperity. She’s determined to find the missing pieces of the blade and use its power for her own gain, even if it means dragging her bumbling fairy godmother and an annoying lady knight along with her.

But as Aralyn has to put her trust in others to survive the challenges of retrieving each lost piece of the blade, she begins to question everything her mother has taught her about surviving in life. Maybe the prince was never the key to her future, and maybe she’ll have to fight to find her own happily ever after.


I’m always super excited to read books based on fairytales and when I saw that A Spark in the Cinders was about one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, I knew I had to read it. However, it pains me to say that I didn’t love this, but that might be due to the current fantasy slump I find myself in. I really struggled to get through more than a couple of chapters at a time and half the time I’d forget what had happened between me putting this down and picking it up again the next day. 

I did, however, really like the concept and I thought it was done pretty well. Seeing the world of Cinderella from the perspective of a stepsister is something that I really loved. Especially as this had its own twist and Aralyn actually wasn’t that mean to Cinderella. Well, she definitely was before the events of this book as those follow the original fairytale that we all know so well, but she goes through a huge development and actually teams up with Cinderella. 

This is mostly down to Vee, who was probably my favourite character. She was completely stubborn and too headstrong for her own good, but she brought out the good in Aralyn. I didn’t realise this was going to be a sapphic story, which isn’t really said as I’m struggling to remember if any romance does occur between them, but it is very heavily implied. 

The tasks to get the blade were deliciously tense and I particularly enjoyed the one in the cave, which I’m not saying anymore on as I don’t want to spoil anything. There are some really interesting settings and events that take part throughout A Spark in the Cinder.

I will say though, the pacing was a little off. Sometimes it felt like the story was going nowhere and then others moved way too fast. I’m actually struggling to remember how the book ended and I’m writing this review not long after finishing it. The resolution seemed a bit too easy and some elements of it were not explained. I’m now wondering if there will be a sequel or not. 

Overall, A Spark in the Cinders is a fun and inventive twist on a story and characters that we all know well. I liked that it was inspired by Cinderella, but she wasn’t the main character. Unfortunately, the timing of me reading this was definitely off and I do wholeheartedly believe I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t need a break from fantasy. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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