Cinder Ellie

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Cinder Ellie (Faraway Castle)

Last Free on: 11th May 18
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...As an introduction to the Faraway Castle resort, this short story is a good taster for fantasy or paranormal readers - and hints at a budding fairytale romance....

Ellie is a maid in the Faraway Castle resort, a job trickier than it looks when the staff or magical creatures are under glamours to avoid disturbing the (rich and thoroughly entitled) guests. When magical fires start breaking out, she and the staff have to conspire to save a rare magical creature from an over-officious manager and guests who just see “vermin”…

This book isn’t as long as it looks. It contains the titular short story about Ellie Calmer, followed by a suggestion you buy the novel to read more about her, followed by a long sample chapter of another title. This is largely a slice-of-life piece, meant to give you a look at the world and characters, and as something to whet a reader’s appetite for more, the story works quite well. It has good and creative world building, establishes the characters, and sets up plenty of hooks for a novel. The Faraway Castle resort is genuinely one I’d like to read more about- a magical resort where the staff hide magic to make the guests more comfortable.

I did come away with a few questions, like why the Gamekeeper outranks the Resort Director, but in a short story I can accept them going unanswered. It isn’t a particularly high stakes story, more a slice of life covering how Ellie gets a job that – presumably – she holds in the novel. That said, fantasy and paranormal fans should find something enjoyable here: endangered magical creatures, a world with magic just under the surface, and a royal romance stirring that might bring romance readers to get the sequel.

As a short story in its own right, with no great thrills or drama, I’d rate it a fair, possibly even average. However, it isn’t meant to be standalone, and as an introduction to the world, a hook, or an extra for those who’ve read the main story, it is excellent.

Rating: 3
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