By Julie Berry
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
In this fairy tale-bending fantasy, we are thrown headlong into the story of Lucinda, once the daughter of a just short of royalty family until her parents were killed returning from a ball. Now Lucinda is merely a servant to the cruel aunt and benign goldsmith uncle who took her in at the age of 5. But fate had deemed that in short order Lucinda will meet and become involved with the Amaranth Witch, fall in love with the prince, get thrown on the streets, become a thief, go to jail, go to the ball, face matters of life and death, find out the truth about her parents' death, and a whole lot more until we finally arrive at our happy ending. The pace is breakneck, the allusions to fairy tales run rampant, and the enjoyablilty meter is on high. This is a fun, inventive, yet also somewhat predictable story that mixes together to become one of the more charming reads of the year. Fairy tale fans will find more than enough to chew on here (can you count the number of fairy tales referenced?) and fantasy fans will also be swept right along. Fun!